"Phillies in six" was the bold prediction of sports analysts and fans, as the Phillies took on the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the NLCS at AT&T Park.
Well, one thing is for sure. The Phillies will not win this championship series in six, as they lost to the Giants and now trail them 3-1 in the series.
Unlikely heroes emerged in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the Giants tied at 5 with the Phillies, Juan Uribe, who was out of the lineup because of a sore wrist, knocked in the winning run with the only sacrifice fly of the post-season for the Giants. Uribe only came in because of a double switch. It should also be noted that Buster Posey, the hitter before Uribe, overcame a heated battle with Roy Oswalt, who came in relief in the 9th, by lining an opposite field single down the right field line that advanced the runner at first, Huff, to third.
The Giants got on the board first in the very first inning of the Phillies' Joe Blanton. With Freddy Sanchez at third, Buster Posey singled him in, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Giants would tack on another run in the bottom of the third inning. With Aubrey Huff on first with two outs, Buster Posey lined a double into left-center field, extending the Giants lead to 2-0.
The Phillies, however, roared back in the top of the fifth inning off Giants' rookie lefty Madison Bumgarner. With runners at second and third with 1 out, Shane Victorino singled up the middle. It looked like this would tie the game, but Aaron Rowand made a good one hop throw to Buster Posey, who picked up a tough hop and tagged out Carlos Ruiz trying to score. The Phillies would still score the tying and lead run later in the inning, as Placido Polanco hit a two out two RBI double, giving the Phillies their first lead of the series at AT&T Park at 3-2. The Phillies would tack on one more run in the inning on a wild pitch by reliever Santiago Casilla, who also gave up the double to Polanco.
It was then the Giants' turn to show their resiliency. In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Giants cut into that Philadelphia lead on an RBI single by Aubrey Huff, who had a 2 for 4 night. The score was then 4-3.
In the top of the 6th inning, the Giants turned the game around. After Pat Burrell led of the inning with a walk, Cody Ross doubled down the left field line. With runners at first and second with nobody out, an unlikely hero, Pablo Sandoval, roasted a high fastball into the left-center field gap, putting the Giants back on top at 5-4. Those RBIS were the first in Sandoval's post-season career.
In this back-and-forth game, the Phillies showed why they were defending National League Champions two years in row. In the top of the eighth, after Ryan Howard doubled off reliever Javier Lopez, Jayson Werth came up against Sergio Romo and lined a doubled down the left field line that was just fair. The game was tied at 5. Romo, however, would retire the next three batters in succession.
No team would score until the bottom of the ninth. As Aubrey Huff made his trek to home plate on the Uribe sacrifice fly, the Giants poured out of the dugout. Their celebration was so great that Roy Oswalt, the losing pitcher, even struggled to get back to the dugout because the celebration was in his way.
In his first post-season game, Madison Bumgarner pitched decently. In his four and two-thirds innings of work, Bumgarner yielded three runs on 6 hits, while walking 1 and striking out 6. Joe Blanton, the Phillies' starter, lasted the same amount of innings as Bumgarner and gave up the same amount of runs.
The Giants now have a 3-1 lead in the series. A win tomorrow, and the Giants have a chance to win a world championship for the first time in their history since coming to San Francisco.
Coming up later on tonight...