|Aubrey Huff celebrates with Giants teammates as the franchise looks to end 56 years of hurt [GALLO/GETTY]
The San Francisco Giants reached the World Series by beating the Philadelphia Phillies in a 3-2 nail-biter to clinch the National League Championship Series – and set up an underdogs' Fall Classic with the Texas Rangers.
The Giants took charge on an eighth-inning homer from Juan Uribe and survived a nervous ninth on Saturday as closer Brian Wilson walked two batters before striking out slugger Ryan Howard to end it.
The victory settled the best-of-seven series 4-2 in the Giants' favour and set up an improbable World Series against the American League champions, Texas Rangers starting in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The Giants ended the two-year run of the Phillies as National League champions, while the Rangers knocked out last year's World Series champion New York Yankees in taking the AL Championship.
"That was epic. What a battle," Wilson said in Philadelphia as a stunned crowd at Citizens Bank Park watched the Giants celebrate in the middle of the diamond.
"I hope the fans back home are going absolutely ballistic."
Outfielder Cody Ross, added late in the season on waivers from the Florida Marlins, was named MVP of the series after hitting three homers and batting .350 for the Giants.
For San Francisco, it will be their first trip to the Fall Classic since 2002 and they will be seeking their first World Series title since 1954, when they were the New York Giants.
Texas will make their Fall Classic debut in their 50th year as a franchise, born in 1961 as the Washington Senators.
"We had chances, we just couldn't cash in on them," Phillie manager Charlie Manuel said.
"We couldn't get the big hit."
Do or die
The Phillies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of their do-or-die game on an RBI-double by Chase Utley and a sacrifice fly to left from Jayson Werth off San Francisco starter Jonathan Sanchez.
San Francisco countered with two runs in the top of the third inning off Phillies starter Roy Oswalt.
The first run scored on a single to centre by Aubrey Huff with the second tally crossing the plate on a throwing error by second baseman Placido Polanco.
Tensions ran high in the bottom of the third when Sanchez hit Utley in the back with a pitch.
Utley and Sanchez exchanged words and looked headed for a confrontation.
Players from both benches rushed on to the field before order was restored.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy replaced the agitated Sanchez with Jeremy Affeldt and used five pitchers, including starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, for seven shutout innings of relief to make Uribe's opposite field shot a game-winner.
Giants general manager Brian Sabean said his team was battle-hardened and used to making the most of their modest offense.
"When you're defined by pitching, well you saw what it took tonight," Sabean said.
"It was a street fight."