Oswalt Pitches Phillies to 1-1 Split
The Phillies evened the National League Championship Series at one game apiece, defeating the San Francisco Giants 6-1 behind a strong eight-inning performance by Roy Oswalt, and a seventh-inning bases-clearing double by Jimmy Rollins.
Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez battled the inconsistent strike zone of home plate umpire Dan Iassogna, walking three batters in the first inning, including a controversial RBI ball four to Jimmy Rollins that was a strike according to Pitch F/X. Sanchez allowed the second run when Shane Victorino led off the bottom of the fifth with a double down the left field line, then advanced to third and home on Chase Utley and Placido Polanco outfield fly balls. Otherwise, Sanchez limited the damage.
Right fielder Cody Ross accounted for the only Giants run in the fifth inning, when he drove an inside fastball over the left field fence for his third solo home run of the series.
The Phillies broke the game open in the seventh after Oswalt led off the inning with a line drive single to center field. Victorino bunted him to second, forcing reliever Ramon Ramirez to intentionally walk Utley. Polanco then ripped a single back through the middle. It appeared the Phillies would have to settle for a bases loaded, one out situation, but Oswalt ignored third base coach Sam Perlozzo’s hold sign and scored easily.
The Giants then brought in left-hander Jeremy Affeldt to pitch to Howard. Polanco and Utley pulled off a double-steal, but Howard was unable to make contact, striking out for the second out of the inning. After Affeldt intentionally walked Jayson Werth, manager Bruce Bochy brought in his third reliever of the inning in Santiago Casilla. Rollins, batting left, lined a low-and-inside fastball to right-center field, narrowly missing the Phillies’ first post-season grand slam since Game Two of the NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers. Three Phillies crossed home plate as Rollins jogged into second base, with two hits and four RBI on the night.
Oswalt found himself in trouble in the eighth inning, walking Pablo Sandoval with one out, and serving up a hit to Freddy Sanchez with two outs. Charlie Manuel chose to let Oswalt finish the inning rather than make a call to the bullpen. Oswalt got Aubrey Huff to line out to center field to end the threat. He finished with nine strikeouts and allowed only three hits.
Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth, working around a lead-off walk to Buster Posey and a two-out Travis Ishikawa single, to ensure the Phillies would fly to San Francisco splitting the first two games. Both teams will have the day off tomorrow to travel and will resume the series on Tuesday with an official start time of 4 PM ET.