The Giants began the National League Championship Series by beating one of Philadelphia’s three aces. But the Phillies simply replaced one talented Roy with another in Game 2 on Sunday night.
This time, Roy Oswalt earned the start and baffled San Francisco’s batters for eight innings before a frenzied sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park. The result — thanks also to a three-run double by Encinal High School product Jimmy Rollins — was a 6-1 victory for Philadelphia, which evened this best-of-seven series at one game apiece.
The teams now travel back to San Francisco, where Game 3 is Tuesday afternoon at 1:19 p.m. at AT&T Park.
It was a disappointing loss for the Giants, who could have put the two-time defending National League champs in a serious hole early in the series. But they struggled against Oswalt and made several defensive miscues in the field.
A throwing error by third baseman Mike Fontenot in the first inning proved costly when starter Jonathan Sanchez walked in a run later in that frame. Sanchez pitched a strong game himself — three runs, two of them earned, on five hits in six innings — but that was one of his three first-inning walks.
“It wasn’t a clean game for us,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You’ve got to play your best ball to beat this team and we were a little off tonight.”
Oswalt wasn’t sharp in his first postseason game against the Cincinnati Reds on Oct. 8. That night he gave up three earned runs, but lasted just five innings.
He was a different pitcher on Sunday, however, allowing one earned run on three hits with nine strikeouts and three walks.
That was more than enough for the Phillies, who led 2-1 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. But Oswalt’s leadoff base hit knocked Sanchez from the game. He later scored on an RBI single by Placido Polanco despite running through a stop sign at third base. It helped that Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff cut off the throw home from center fielder Andres Torres.
After Bochy intentionally walked Jayson Werth to load the bases with two outs, Rollins then drilled his three-run double off the base of the wall in right field against reliever Santiago Casilla.
Oswalt took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. But Giants outfielder Cody Ross took care of that with a solo homer to left to tie the game at 1-1. It was his third homer of the series — Ross hit two off Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay on Saturday night — and his fourth homer in his last seven at-bats. Ross’ first homer during that stretch came off Atlanta’s Derek Lowe in Game 4 of that NLDS series on Oct. 11. That blast also broke up a no-hitter with one out in the sixth inning as San Francisco went on to end the series.
“Don’t throw it down and in [to Ross],” Oswalt said. “The last three balls he hit were in the exact same spot. Just bad pitches and throwing it right into his bat.”
Jonathan Sanchez pitched well against the Phillies during the regular season, but wasn’t quite as sharp Sunday:
2-0 Sanchez’s record vs. the Phillies in the regular season
7 Walks against the Phillies in two regular-season starts
3 Walks allowed Sunday by Sanchez
5 Hits allowed Sunday by Sanchez