In a game in which neither team’s bullpen looked like it wanted to win, it took a Phillies starter pitching in relief to finally put last night’s NLCS Game 4 to bed. Aubrey Huff and Buster Posey singled off Roy Oswalt in the tenth inning and Juan Uribe lifted a sac fly to drive home the winner in a 6-5 Giants victory, giving them a 3-1 series lead.
Posey had four hits for San Francisco, driving in runs on a single in the first and a double to deep left in the third, and sliced a 1-2 Oswalt pitch into the right field corner to chase Huff to third with one out in the tenth to set up Uribe, who lifted a fly ball to left to plate the winner. Uribe, who hit 24 homers in the regular season but didn’t start due to a wrist injury, only entered the game at shortstop on a double switch in the top of the inning and started it with a great defensive play to his right to retire Ross Gload.
Bruce Bochy and Charlie Manuel both had short leashes for their starters, with each pulling his in fifth inning jams and turning things over to the bullpens, which did little more to instill confidence. After Bochy pulled Madison Bumgarner in a 2-1 game in the fifth, reliever Santiago Casilla responded by giving up a double to Placido Polanco, intentionally walking Ryan Howard, hitting Jason Werth and then tossing a wild pitch that had Philly up 4-2 when all was said and done. San Francisco responded with one off Philly starter Joe Blanton in the fifth, then scored two on a Pablo Sandoval double off Chad Durbin in the sixth to grab a 5-4 lead. Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo teamed up to allow to the tying run two innings later by giving up doubles to Howard and Werth to start the eighth.
Manuel’s decision to go with Oswalt for extras seemed like a good one, if not for the mere fact he’s not Brad Lidge. Oswalt, who was 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 12 starts with Philly this year and pitched eight brilliant innings in Sunday’s Game 2, ran into trouble after getting Freddy Sanchez on a liner to right to start and wasn’t able to recover. Just like that, we’re one Philly loss away from having some new blood representing the National League in the World Series.
One positive for Philadelphia is that it gets Roy Halladay for Game 5. Don’t get too excited, though, Phillies fans — some kid named Timmy Lincecum has the ball for San Francisco. Neither was at his best in the series opener, so you can bet we’ll be in for some sort of 18-inning, 1-0 pitchers’ duel this time around. It all goes down tonight at 7:57 from AT&T Park.