10/17/10 12:56 AM ET
Doc's off night has Phils in early NLCS hole
Giants get to ace for two homers, four runs in seven innings
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He proved he is human.
He threw a no-hitter Oct. 6 against the Reds in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, but allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings in a 4-3 loss to the Giants in Game 1 of the NL Championship Series. It is the first time the Phillies have lost Game 1 in a postseason series since the Rockies swept them in the 2007 NLDS, snapping a streak of seven consecutive Game 1 victories.
"It's obviously never something you're prepared for, but it's part of it," said Halladay, who sounded deflated afterward. "You find out what you're made of."
The entire team will get a sense of that Sunday, when it tries to even the series in Game 2 at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. Teams that take a 1-0 lead in the LCS are 52-28. Teams that take a 2-0 lead are 35-4.
"It's a little bit of a reality check," closer Brad Lidge said.
It's a must-win game.
Game 1 had been hyped incessantly because of the matchup between Halladay and Giants ace Tim Lincecum.
"If anyone got a hit, it was going to be a miracle," Lidge said, referring to the hype.
But both teams hit the opposing ace. The Giants just did better against Halladay.
So what happened to Halladay?
A couple of things:
First, Cody Ross, who the Giants claimed off waivers from the Marlins on Aug. 22, hit solo home runs against Halladay in the third and fifth innings. The homer with one out in the third snapped Halladay's hitless streak at 34 at-bats. Ross' homer with one out in the fifth made him just the second player this season to homer twice against Halladay in the same game. Brewers outfielder Corey Hart did it Sept. 4.
Ross was also in the lineup when Halladay threw his perfect game against the Marlins on May 29.
"In the past, I've tried everything against him, trying to wait them out and trying to be aggressive," Ross said. "[I was] just trying for a pitch to drive, and luckily, I got it."
Second, Halladay found trouble with two outs and nobody on in the sixth. Buster Posey singled to right field and Pat Burrell followed with a double. Halladay thought he struck out Burrell on a 0-2 cutter. He actually started walking off the mound toward the dugout when home-plate umpire Derryl Cousins called the pitch a ball.
Burrell hit the next pitch deep to left field. Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez, who replaced Burrell as the team's left fielder last year, leapt at the wall, but the ball hit the heel of his glove and fell to the ground. Posey scored and Burrell ran to second, pumping his fist as the Giants took a 3-1 lead.
"I thought he hit it better than that," Ibanez said. "I thought it was going to go off the top of the wall. By the time I jumped against the wall to get a little leverage and use the wall to get a little height, the ball was a little lower than I thought."
Halladay had a few words for Cousins following the play.
He was angry.
"It's part of it," Halladay said. "There were obviously calls they wanted, too. If you don't get a pitch, you have to make the next one."
It got worse for Halladay. Juan Uribe singled up the middle to score pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz from second to make it 4-1.
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"I made some bad pitches at times," Halladay said. "There were times that I made good pitches and other times where they weren't good. The first pitch to Ross, I didn't think was that bad. But the second one, I left it out over the plate. Then in the sixth inning, I made a couple of pitches that cost me. I made too many mistakes and it ended up costing me."
The ballpark fell silent in the sixth. Phillies fans had made their presence felt earlier. They catcalled Lincecum throughout the game, making fun of his long hair like Flyers fans often whistled at Jaromir Jagr across the street at the Wells Fargo Center.
"I was thinking, 'I must have a really nice butt,'" said Lincecum, who allowed six hits and three runs in seven innings. "But I heard a lot of them. It kind of hypes you up a little bit. You're fighting a lot more than the Philly team. It's the whole Philly atmosphere."
Carlos Ruiz provided the Phillies' only offense through five innings when he hit a solo homer in the third to make it 1-1. Chase Utley hit a leadoff single in the sixt and Jayson Werth followed two batters later with a home run to right to make it 4-3.
The Phils made things interesting again. They brought life back to the ballpark.
The Phillies had won three postseason games the past two seasons when trailing in the eighth inning: Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS (The Matt Stairs Game), Game 4 of the '09 NLDS (three runs in the ninth inning to beat the Rockies in frigid conditions) and Game 4 of the '09 NLCS (Jimmy Rollins doubled to score Eric Bruntlett and Ruiz to win the game in the ninth).
Saturday would not be their fourth late-inning comeback as Giants closer Brian Wilson struck out four of the five batters he faced. It only would stir talk of the importance of winning Game 2.
"It's going to be tight all the way through," said Rollins, who struck out three times. "They have a good pitching staff. We have a good pitching staff. We have a lineup that can hit. They obviously have a lineup that can hit. It's an even match. They got off to the good start tonight.
"Usually we win Game 1 and find a way to lose Game 2. Now we have to find a way to win Game 2 and go back out to San Francisco. We don't get afraid of playing on the road. We've won on the road. We're comfortable there also. So we've just got to make sure we get even [Sunday], because you don't want to go down 0-2."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.