|San Francisco Giants’ Juan Uribe watches his game-winning sacrifice fly against the Phillies [REUTERS]|
Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly drove in the winning run as the San Francisco Giants pushed the Philadelphia Phillies to the brink of elimination from the National League Championship Series with a 6-5 win on Wednesday.
With the score tied 5-5 and one out in the ninth, Uribe sent a Roy Oswalt offering to deep left, allowing Aubrey Huff to race home with the winning run, which sparked wild celebrations.
The Giants lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and will have a chance to clinch a World Series berth with a victory in Game Five at home on Thursday.
Roy Halladay will start for the Phillies against the Giants’ Tim Lincecum in a rematch of Game One.
“They were asking me today about whether we like to play with our backs to the wall, Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager, told reporters. “I think we’re going to get a chance.”
In a series that had been dominated by big-name pitching matchups, Game Four featured ragged efforts from the Phillies’ Joe Blanton and Giants’ rookie Madison Bumgarner with both starters failing to make it through the fifth inning.
The game instead turned into a battle of the bullpens, with the Giants going through four relievers before closer Brian Wilson secured the win. Philadelphia sent five relievers to the mound, and Oswalt took the loss.
Manuel resisted the temptation to hand the ball to Halladay on short rest and instead went with Blanton, who went 6-0 to close the regular season.
Making his first start in three weeks, Blanton struggled to shake off the rust in a wobbly first inning with San Francisco grabbing the early lead on Buster Posey’s RBI single.
Getting their first look at Bumgarner, the Phillies were baffled by the 21-year-old lefty until the fifth inning when he gave up back-to-back singles.
Shane Victorino soon followed with a single to score Francisco while Ruiz was thrown out at the plate.
It was the first earned run given up by the Giants at home during the post-season, and after Chase Utley singled in the next at bat, Bumgarner’s game was over.
The Giants pulled a run back in the fifth on a Huff RBI single then reclaimed the lead 5-4 in the sixth on a two-run double from Pablo Sandoval.
The desperate Phillies pulled level again in the eight when Ryan Howard, who led off with a double, was brought home by a RBI double from Jayson Werth.
“We have tremendous respect for the Phillies,” Bruce Bochy, the Giants manager, said.
“You go out there and you give it your best and you see what happens.”