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10/22/10 1:42 AM ET

Werth in rare territory with insurance homer

Opposite-field leadoff shot in ninth inning provides handy cushion

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jayson Werth did something in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series that right-handed hitters just aren't supposed to do. He poked a home run over AT&T Park's distant right-field fence.

According to the Giants' own research, Werth's ninth-inning solo shot was only the 36th opposite-field home run by a right-handed hitter in the 11-year history of AT&T Park.

"When it gets late here, that air gets heavy," Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross said. "Unless you hit it low, it doesn't seem to go out. That was pretty impressive."

But never mind statistical oddities. Werth's homer was really big because it gave the Phillies a bit of breathing room in their 4-2 win over the Giants, helping to extend the NLCS to a Game 6 on Saturday. The Phillies still need to win the next two games to advance to the World Series.

Here's something to look forward to for Werth and Co.: Two more games in Citizens Bank Park. Werth hit a two-run homer in Game 1 that he didn't have to hit quite as flush as the one he hit Thursday.

"I hit it good," he said. "But I've hit a lot of balls good here to right field and they've gone nowhere. So when I saw it heading towards the line, I thought that was probably its best chance. The park gets short over there. ... You just never know here."

Werth also contributed in Game 5 with his arm, firing a strike to third base after Pablo Sandoval's flyout to catch his opposing right fielder -- Cody Ross -- from trying to take third.

The double play helped a hobbled Roy Halladay, hampered by a strained right groin since earlier in the game, to escape the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead intact.

Well Werth it in October
Most career postseason homers
Rank Player PA HR
1. Manny Ramirez 493 29
2. Bernie Williams 545 22
3. Derek Jeter 675 20
4. Mickey Mantle 273 18
Reggie Jackson 318 18
6. Jim Thome 251 17
7. Babe Ruth 167 15
8. David Justice 471 14
9. Jayson Werth 178 13
Albert Pujols 239 13
Jim Edmonds 263 13
Alex Rodriguez 272 13
Chipper Jones 412 13

"I caught it and let it fly," Werth said.

"That was awesome," Halladay said. "That's a big play. Instead of two outs and a man at third, when anything can happen ... it's a huge out."

The homer was just as big. It gave closer Brad Lidge a two-run cushion before a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning.

"That's huge," Lidge said. "Any time you get that extra run, you feel great. That's a big run. You never know when a guy might run into one and hit a solo shot, but with a two-run lead, hey, you're going to be all right. When he hit that ball, that really loosened things up."

Leave it to the sportswriters to tighten things back up. Werth is Philadelphia's most famous soon-to-be free agent, and his contractual status was headline fodder all summer. So with the Phillies facing elimination, Werth was asked whether he considered earlier Thursday that he might be playing his last game in a Phillies uniform.

"No," he deadpanned. "Thanks for reminding me, though."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brew Beat, and follow him on Twitter at @AdamMcCalvy. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.