Giants deliver first blow in 4-3 win over Phillies
Tim Lincecum said he laughed when he heard the whistling in the stands at Citizens Bank Park.
The visiting pitcher was stepping into the batter’s box and the fans wanted to let him know that his long hair made him look like a woman.
“I was thinking I must have a nice butt,” Lincecum said. “I’ve never been whistled at by that many guys. I actually enjoyed it.”
But as the game advanced into the later stages, the atmosphere in the ballpark turned from fun to angry. In the same city where Santa Claus was once booed and pelted with snowballs, fans were resorted to blurting obscenities.
The San Francisco Giants were on their way to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
The crowd inspired the Giants — “It kind of heightens you a bit,” Lincecum said — but it also confused some of them.
“Whistling at guys, I don’t know what that means,” closer Brian Wilson deadpanned. “I didn’t really understand it.”
What was actually difficult to comprehend was how the Giants won the game.
No. 8 hitter Cody Ross, who was a waiver-wire pickup in August, homered against the man widely considered to be the best pitcher on the planet, Roy Halladay.
And he did it twice.
“This guy, he’s obviously one of the best in the game,” Ross said. “But fortunately we got to him a little early and Timmy pitched well enough to get the win tonight.”
Fellow castoff outfielder Pat Burrell, who was released by the Tampa Bay Rays less than two months into the season, returned to the ballpark he used to call home and hit a run-scoring double in the sixth inning.
“I spent a lot of time here and have some really great memories,” Burrell said. “It’s hard not to think of that when you get out on the field. I’m not saying it’s easy not to think about some of the things that have happened while you’re here, but I’m on a new team and have the same goal, you know, to win.”
Burrell’s double was followed by a single by Juan Uribe that extended the Giants’ lead to 4-1. As Giants rookie catcher Buster Posey pointed out, “It ended up being the difference.”
Lincecum, who threw a two-hit shutout against the Atlanta Braves in an NL division series, had some rough moments. But the same was true of Halladay, who no-hit the Cincinnati Reds the last time he took the mound.
The two aces each pitched seven innings and each gave up two home runs. Lincecum was charged with three runs, six hits and three walks; Halladay with four runs and eight hits.
Halladay lost for the first time since he pitched at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30.
So much for the pitching matchup for the ages.
Like Halladay, Lincecum was also taken deep by the No. 8 hitter, in his case, catcher Carlos Ruiz.
The other long ball came in the sixth inning, when Jayson Werth hit a two-run shot that cut the Giants’ lead to 4-3.
Wilson closed the game with a four-out, four-strikeout save.
Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel expressed some concerns in the wake of the defeat.
The two-time defending NL champions hadn’t lost the first game of a playoff series since 2007. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who had two lengthy stints on the disabled list, had another hitless game and is one for 15 in the postseason.
Asked whether he would consider using Halladay in Game 4 on short rest, Manuel replied, “I don’t want to think about that yet.”
The mood was considerably lighter on the other side.
At one point, Aubrey Huff walked across the Giants’ clubhouse in sandals and the now-famous red thong underwear that he nicknamed “the Rally Thong.”
“God …” Wilson said.
He shook his head.