It had been a long, long time since anyone had seen Roy Halladay give up a hit. Like 20 days long. On this night, he gave up eight of them, including two home runs to eighth-place batter Cody Ross in the Phillies 4-3 loss to the Giants in Game 1.
Halladay looked nowhere near his no-hit form of October 6, and perhaps this time, the long layoff coupled with the brisk conditions may have led to his demise. Those, however, are excuses, which Roy Halladay will not make and did not make following his somewhat-lackluster showing. His line: seven innings, eight hits, four earned runs, no walks, and seven strikeouts.
“Well, I made some bad pitches. First pitch to Ross I don’t think was that bad, but the second one I left the ball over the plate,” said Halladay. At least he stuck around for the accountability. Ryan Howard bolted early, missing the media following his 1-for-4, three strikeout-night.
Ross absolutely owns the Phillies in his career. His two bombs to left field were the second and third of this postseason, with the first one a no-hitter-killer in the second inning. To that point, Halladay had a personal 13. 1/3 inning hitless streak -including the regular season finale against the Nationals – snapped on Ross’s first homer. His second home run in the fifth inning gave the Giants a 2-1 lead, which they would add to one frame later. His regular season numbers against the Phillies are staggering during his career, which includes 13 of his 86 career home runs. He only added to his resume with this showing.
In the sixth, Halladay unraveled a bit as he allowed three two-out hits in succession, putting two more on the board for San Francisco. Buster Posey led off with a single, followed by a Pat Burrell double to left field. Raul Ibanez appeared to have a beat on it as he jumped against the wall, but dropped it. Posey scored, make it 3-1 Giants. Burrell was replaced by pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz who touched home on a Juan Uribe first-pitch single to center field.
After Ross’s first jack, Carlos Ruiz got the crowd back into it almost instantly as he led off the bottom of the second with a home run to right. That home run extended Ruiz’s postseason on-base streak to 24 straight games and added to his silly totals during that stretch. In those 24 games, Ruiz is hitting .338 with six doubles, four homers, and 14 RBI to go with a .495 on-base percentage. Tonight, he needed a little help from his friends but didn’t quite get enough.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Jayson Werth would finally make his presence felt, going to the opposite field with a big two-run home run to cut the Giants lead to one. But they would get no more as Ruiz and Werth were the only Phillies to show up.
Giants starter Tim Lincecum left went seven innings, giving up six hits while walking three. His two blemishes were the home runs to Ruiz and Werth. “The Freak” wasn’t freakishly good or unhittable as he allowed several hard hit balls, but he seemed to lock it down when necessary.
Lincecum was aided by poor situational hitting from the Phillies. They finished the night 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, which on the surface may not seem like much, but against a pitcher like Lincecum, they are big time opportunities gone by the wayside.
Eighth and ninth inning rallies fell short for the Phillies as they stranded a runner on base in each frame. In the eighth, Jimmy Rollins failed yet again in a bit situation, whiffing at heat from Giants closer Brian Wilson. Rollins surely does not look to be the same guy that took this same situation a year ago and led the Phillies to a win. You’ll recall in Game 4 of the NLCS, Rollins smoked a gapper off of Jonathan Broxton to send the Phillies to a 3-1 series lead. In this one, he swung right through Wilson’s fastball.
In the ninth, Ross Gload and Shane Victorino each struck out with Carlos Ruiz on first base to end what little threat they had going. As a unit, the Phillies left seven men on base, missing several opportunities to overcome the so-so performance from Halladay.
Tomorrow night, they’ll get right back at it with a very tough matchup. Jonathan Sanchez, the lefty feaster will go up against Roy Oswalt. It’s about as close to a must-win as possible.
Here are some photos from Game 1: