File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Phillies try to knot the NLCS up at 2-2 this evening at AT&T Park.
But if Blanton can come through -- he has had postseason success in the past, particularly in 2008 -- the Phillies will knot the series back up at 2-2 and feel confident knowing Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels will be starting the next three games, needing to win only two of them.
Lineup changes for both teams. Juan Uribe still can't go for the Giants, so Edgar Renteria remains at shortstop while Pablo Sandoval makes his first start of the series at third base. For the Phillies, Raul Ibanez (0-for-11 with five strikeouts in the series) has been benched in favor of Ben Francisco...
NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES — GAME 4
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
Where: AT&T Park
Gametime: 7:57 p.m.
TV: Fox Radio: WTNT-570 AM
Weather: Mostly sunny, 61 degrees
PHILLIES8:35 p.m. -- Giants up 1-0 after two innings, thanks to another clutch hit from Buster Posey and a fantastic tag by Edgar Renteria. With two outs in the top of the second, Jimmy Rollins took off from first. Madison Bumgarner caught a glimpse and threw to Aubrey Huff, who fired to Renteria. But Renteria pulled off a nifty slide move to catch the ball and tag Rollins before he got to the bag. If he stays back and waits for the throw, Rollins is safe. Heads-up and really athletic play from the veteran shortstop.
CF Shane Victorino
2B Chase Utley
3B Placido Polanco
1B Ryan Howard
RF Jayson Werth
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Ben Francisco
C Carlos Ruiz
P Joe Blanton
SS Edgar Renteria
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Aubrey Huff
C Buster Posey
LF Pat Burrell
RF Cody Ross
3B Pablo Sandoval
CF Aaron Rowand
P Madison Bumgarner
8:49 p.m. -- This just in: Buster Posey is good. I know I'm breaking some previously unknown news here, but man, this kid can really play. He just laced a double to left, bringing home a huffing and puffing Huff and putting the Giants up 2-0 in the third. Bumgarner, meanwhile, looks pretty sharp himself.
9:45 p.m. -- Geez, I leave the house for 30 minutes and look what happens. The Phillies scored four runs in the top of the fifth, knocking Bumgarner out of the game. Santiago Casilla didn't do anything to put out the fire, plunking Werth and uncorking a wild pitch. But the Giants are trying to claw their way back in the bottom of the fifth. They just made it 4-3 and knocked Blanton out. So this one's in the hands of both bullpens. Long way to go.
10:11 p.m. -- You just had a feeling Pablo Sandoval was going to come through with a clutch hit at some point. The guy is too good a hitter to be held down this long. Sure enough, the Kung Fu Panda drilled a high fastball from Chad Durbin to left-center, scoring the tying and go-ahead runs. San Francisco now leads 5-4 in the sixth and has scored more than four runs for the first time since, get this, September 25!
10:32 p.m. -- Props to Javier Lopez (who, Mrs. Z would like you to know, was a senior at Fairfax's Robinson High School when she was a freshman -- she even has yearbook evidence!) for coming up big in the top of the seventh, getting Utley to pop out and Polanco to ground into a double play. Giants still lead 5-4 and are six outs from victory.
11:16 p.m. -- So much for that. Werth's RBI in the eighth tied the game 5-5, and since the Giants couldn't respond in the bottom of the inning, they now head to the ninth deadlocked.
11:24 p.m. -- And now Roy Oswalt is entering to pitch the bottom of the ninth for the Phillies. Wow.
11:37 p.m. -- Charlie Manuel's gonna have to answer some questions about that one, because Oswalt just lost the game. Freddy Sanchez lined out hard to right. Aubrey Huff singled to right. Buster Posey drilled a single to right, his fourth hit of the night. And then Juan Uribe, bad wrist and all, got a fly ball deep enough to left field to bring Huff home with the game-winning run. Giants win 6-5 in walk-off fashion and now they have a chance to win the pennant tomorrow night on their home turf. If they do finish off the Phillies, Manuel is going to have a long winter wondering if he should have used closer Brad Lidge in the ninth inning of a tie game instead of Oswalt, who started two games ago and who hadn't pitched in relief (aside from one tune-up after they clinched) since 2006.