File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Citizens Bank Park hosts the pitching matchup of the year tonight.
You know both pitchers are going to bring it, so this game really will be about which lineup takes advantage of whatever opportunities they do get. Will either Charlie Manuel or Bruce Bochy play for one run early, or will they just hope one of their big boppers gets a hold of one and sends it beyond the cozy confines of the Citizens Bank Park outfield wall?
However this one turns out, it promises to be a dandy. (And hopefully it'll be played much quicker than these first two AL marathons. Man, do I prefer the NL.)...
NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES — GAME 1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Clear, 57 degrees
GIANTS8:02 p.m. -- It took Roy Halladay all of eight pitches to retire the side in the top of the first. I may be jumping the gun here a bit, but I think this guy has a chance to be pretty good.
CF Andres Torres
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
SS Juan Uribe
3B Mike Fontenot
RF Cody Ross
P Tim Lincecum
CF Shane Victorino
3B Placido Polanco
2B Chase Utley
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Raul Ibanez
C Carlos Ruiz
P Roy Halladay
8:26 p.m. -- Well, we won't have a double no-hitter tonight. Ryan Howard took care of that by doubling to lead off the bottom of the second. But remember what I said earlier about the need to take advantage of the few opportunities that arise tonight? The Phillies didn't do it. Charlie Manuel clearly wasn't playing for one run after the Howard double, so he was forced to watch the big guy stranded at second as Jayson Werth struck out and Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez flied out. Still scoreless through two.
8:31 p.m. -- How big has Cody Ross been for the Giants? Really big. He came through several times in the NLDS and he just recorded the first hit off Halladay this postseason. Which landed in the left-field bleachers. Ross' solo homer to lead off the third gives the Giants a 1-0 lead and stuns the crowd in Philly.
8:47 p.m. -- It's the attack of the No. 8 hitters. Carlos Ruiz duplicates Ross' feat and homers in the bottom of the third. Lincecum got himself into all kinds of trouble in that inning, actually allowing four runners to reach base. He's falling behind in the count to almost every hitter. He's also getting squeezed a bit by plate umpire Derryl Cousins. But he came up big in striking out Ryan Howard with runners on second and third, so this remains a 1-1 game as they head to the fourth.
9:22 p.m. -- How do you think the Marlins feel right about now having dumped Cody Ross this summer and let the Giants claim him away for nothing in return? Ross' second homer in as many at-bats has put the Giants up 2-1 after five. Lincecum has settled in nicely after that shaky third inning. Halladay has been fine himself, except when he tries to fire a low-and-inside fastball past Ross. Hey Roy, it's not working. Might want to try a breaking ball next time Cody comes up.
9:50 p.m. -- So much for this epic pitchers' duel. It's now 4-3 Giants after six wild innings. San Francisco took a 4-1 lead in the top of the inning thanks to a big RBI double from Pat Burrell moments after a borderline 0-2, two-out pitch from Halladay was called a ball by Cousins. But just when you thought a three-run lead was insurmountable against Lincecum, Jayson Werth took the right-hander deep to right for a two-run homer. So just like that, it's 4-3. Hope you didn't bet the under like I suggested before the game.
10:15 p.m. -- Big decision here for Bruce Bochy. As the game goes to the bottom of the eighth, he's got to decide whether to leave Lincecum in to face Utley and Howard or whether to go with lefty specialist (and Fairfax native and Robinson High School alum) Javier Lopez instead. Looks like he's going with Lopez, so both starters are now out. San Francisco still clinging to a 4-3 lead, six outs from victory.
10:30 p.m. -- Great job by Lopez and closer Brian Wilson, summoned to record the third out of the eighth. So they head to the ninth, the Giants looking for an insurance run to give Wilson some cushion for the bottom of the inning.
10:58 p.m. -- Ladies and gentlemen: Meet Brian Wilson. Four outs. Four strikeouts. Giants win 4-3. Lincecum gets the win. Halladay takes the loss. San Francisco takes the early series lead in a game that wasn't quite as low-scoring as anyone expected but still was plenty entertaining. The best part: They played this one in three hours flat, nearly an hour faster than the ALCS game earlier. Good stuff. Game 2 tomorrow night, with Roy Oswalt facing Jonathan Sanchez. Until then...