Playoff Series: Game 2 of 6

San Francisco won 4-2

Game 1: Saturday, October 16
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Game 2: Sunday, October 17
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Game 3: Tuesday, October 19
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Game 4: Wednesday, October 20
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Game 5: Thursday, October 21
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Game 6: Saturday, October 23
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    8:19 PM ET, October 17, 2010

    Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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    PHI 10001040 - 6 8 0

    W: R. Oswalt (1-0)

    L: J. Sanchez (0-1)

    Roy Oswalt strikes out 9, Jimmy Rollins drives in 4 as Phillies even NLCS

    Associated Press

    PHILADELPHIA -- Roy Oswalt's daring dash around the bases nearly overshadowed his dominant performance on the mound.

    Oswalt pitched eight superb innings, Jimmy Rollins drove in four runs and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 6-1 Sunday night to even the NL Championship Series at one game apiece.

    "I'm hoping for a momentum switch and get back to San Francisco and take the series there," Oswalt said.

    A day after Tim Lincecum outdueled Roy Halladay in a marquee matchup of aces, Oswalt beat Jonathan Sanchez.

    The series shifts to San Francisco for Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon. Matt Cain faces Philadelphia's Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP.

    Even though he didn't finish the outing, it sure was a complete game for Oswalt. He allowed one run and three hits, striking out nine. He also singled using one of Rollins' bats and scored a run after racing through a coach's stop sign in the seventh.

    Instead of his pitching, everyone wanted to know what he was thinking on the bases.

    "First thing in my mind was score," Oswalt said. "When I got halfway, I saw the stop sign. I said it's too late now. No turning back."

    Rollins kidded Oswalt about it.

    "It was a nice slide," he said. "That was something I would do. Actually, I probably wouldn't have needed to slide."

    Cody Ross hit his third solo homer in two games for the Giants, who struck out 10 times.

    Rollins busted out of a 1-for-15 postseason slump, going 2 for 3 with a bases-loaded walk and a bases-clearing double.

    "I knew it was just a matter of time," Rollins said.

    Halladay followed up his no-hitter against the Reds in the division series with a subpar performance in Game 1. He gave up four runs in seven innings.

    But Oswalt showed why the Phillies got him from Houston before the trade deadline, shutting down the Giants in a crucial spot.

    "You can't get caught up in the moment of trying to get momentum back on your side," Oswalt said. "You have to pitch your game."

    Sanchez gave up three runs -- two earned -- and five hits in six-plus innings. The tough lefty had dominated the Phillies in his five previous starts against them, not allowing more than four hits in any outing.

    "It's 1-1, you know? It's tied. We've got to go out there and start winning," Sanchez said.

    Oswalt chased Sanchez with a line-drive single leading off the bottom of the seventh. He advanced to second on Shane Victorino's sacrifice off Ramon Ramirez. After Chase Utley was intentionally walked, Placido Polanco lined a single to center. Oswalt ran through third-base coach Sam Perlozzo's stop sign and slid safely ahead of the relay throw to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

    "That was comical," Rollins said. "Roy's got those stiff hips and he looked like he was cardboard running down the line but he got it done tonight."

    Jeremy Affeldt came in and struck out Ryan Howard after a double steal. Jayson Werth was intentionally walked before Santiago Casilla entered to face Rollins. The former NL MVP, dropped from leadoff to sixth in the batting order since the playoffs started, hit a drive off the right-center field fence to put the Phillies up 6-1.

    An appreciative crowd chanted "J-Roll! J-Roll!" with a smiling Rollins standing on second.

    "I got a lot of faith in him," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I know how much he wants to be up there."

    Oswalt didn't allow a hit until Ross connected with one out in the fifth to tie it at 1. He ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left-center field seats -- nearly the same spot both of his homers off Halladay landed.

    But the Phillies played small-ball -- a rarity for this lineup filled with inconsistent sluggers -- to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom half.

    Victorino, one of the few Phillies with success off Sanchez, lined a double down the left-field line. He advanced to third on Utley's fly out to right and scored on Polanco's sacrifice fly to center, which drew a loud ovation.

    The Phillies took advantage of Sanchez's wildness and scored an unearned run without getting a hit in the first.

    Utley, flip-flopped with Polanco in the batting order, drew a one-out walk. Utley stole second and advanced to third when Polanco reached on third baseman Mike Fontenot's throwing error. Howard worked a walk after falling behind 1-2 in the count.

    Sanchez then caught Werth looking at a slider for the second out. But Rollins walked to force in a run. Raul Ibanez fanned to end the inning.

    Rollins got his second hit of the playoffs in the fourth when Fontenot let his popup land untouched near the mound.

    Acquired from Houston on July 29, Oswalt went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 games with the Phillies. Oswalt -- not Halladay or Hamels -- was Philadelphia's best pitcher down the stretch. The three-time All-Star was 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his last 10 starts.

    Oswalt struggled against Cincinnati in Game 2 of the division series. He gave up three earned runs in five innings in a 7-4 win.

    The Giants saw a different version of Oswalt.

    "He threw really great," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was on and he had his stuff."

    For the third straight postseason, the city hosted a day-night football-baseball doubleheader with the Eagles playing early. The sports complex had a Christmas feel as fans wore their green and red to support both teams.

    Just like the last two years, the Eagles did their part. They beat Atlanta 31-17. In '08, it was a city sweep with the Phillies beating Tampa Bay in Game 4 of the World Series in the nightcap after an Eagles' win over the Falcons. Last year, after the Eagles beat the New York Giants, the Phillies lost to the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the World Series.

    The crowd of 46,099 -- the 135th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park -- was revved up right from the start, waving their "Fightin' Phils" rally towels and chanting "Let's Go Phillies."

    They cheered loudly when Oswalt brushed back Ross with a high-and-tight fastball in the second.

    Game notes

    Howard spent part of his day watching the Eagles on the field in one end zone. He led a cheer and then hitched a ride with the Phillie Phanatic, riding on the back of the furry green mascot's four-wheeler to get to the ballpark. ... Former Phillies outfielder and current broadcaster Gary Matthews, the 1983 NLCS MVP, threw out the first pitch. ... Sanchez beat the Phillies twice in the regular season, allowing just two runs in 13 innings. He's 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA against them in the regular season, losing 1-0 for his only defeat. ... Giants leadoff hitter Andres Torres struck out swinging four times.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumCitizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
    Attendance46,099 (105.6% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time3:01
    Weather70 degrees, clear
    Wind6 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Dan Iassogna, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Wally Bell, Third Base - Jeff Nelson

    Research Notes

    How Jonathan Sanchez bounced back from a tough first inning and kept the Giants in the game: - Sanchez struggled early on with his control, and the Phillies took advantage with a patient approach. Sanchez threw 35 pitches in the first inning, only 16 of which were in the strike zone (45.7 pct), below his season average of 54.3 percent. The Phillies swung only 31 percent of the time in the first inning, third lowest for a Sanchez opponent all year. No Phillies hitter swung at the first pitch. They walked three times, including once with the bases loaded to give them a 1-0 lead. - Sanchez started to command his fastball better after the first inning, throwing it for strikes 68 percent of the time compared to 58 percent in the first. This helped open things up for his secondary pitches. Phillies hitters finished just 1-for-9 against his non-fastballs. - When Sanchez was able to get to two-strike counts, he was effective. Phillies hitters went to a two-strike count 12 times and only reached base twice (Oswalt single, Howard walk), compared to six times in 15 non-two strike counts.
    How Roy Oswalt dominated the Giants, evening up the NLCS at one: - Oswalt threw 70 fastballs, third most in any start this season. Of those 70, a season-high 38 were up in the strike zone. Giants hitters, especially Andres Torres, struggled with the high heat. They finished 0-for-8 on high fastballs, including Torres who was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. Overall, the Giants were just 2-for-18 against Oswalt's fastball, including six of his nine strikeouts. That's the most outs he's recorded on the pitch all season. - As Oswalt went up with his fastball, he went down with his changeup. He threw 21 changeups, 13 of which were down in the zone. Giants hitters were 0-for-4 against Oswalt's change. - Since coming over to Philadelphia, Oswalt is throwing his changeup more often with increased success, perhaps a sign he's adjusting to his park. With the Phillies, Oswalt is throwing his changeup 18 percent of the time and hitters have just a .441 OPS, compared to 11 percent of the time with a .573 OPS in Houston.
    Jimmy Rollins broke out of his slump in a big way on Sunday, driving in four runs, three of which came on a bases-clearing double in the seventh to break the game open. Rollins tied his own record, shared also by Rich Aurilia, for the most RBI by a NL shortstop in a postseason game. Since returning from a lingering hamstring injury on September 26, Rollins was just 5-for-34 entering Sunday's game, including the playoffs. Both of his hits on Sunday came off fastballs over the middle of the plate, nearly matching his totals against the pitch over the last 10 games prior to Game 2.
    Roy Oswalt whiffs 9, allows 3 hits and 1 run -- just the 4th pitcher in postseason history to put up those numbers in a win that helped his team pull even in a postseason series. The other 3 pitchers propelled their teams to a series win:
    From Elias: Cody Ross has now hit the first 3 HR of the NLCS for the Giants. He is just the 4th player to hit his team's 1st 3 HR of a postseason series and first to do so since Willie Stargell for the Pirates in the 1979 World Series. The others? Rusty Staub and Babe Ruth, who did it in the 1926 World Series.
    With three steals tonight, the Phillies are now 9-for-9 in stolen bases against the Giants this season, including 6-for-6 against Posey. During the regular season, Philadelphia led the NL in SB pct while the Giants allowed the second most steals.
    Jonathan Sanchez is the 2nd San Francisco Giant pitcher (since 1958) to issue a bases loaded walk in the postseason. The other was Steve Bedrosian in Game 4 of the 1989 World Series.

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