© 2010 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/16/10 7:15 PM ET
Giants can take control with Game 2 win
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
The Giants were hoping to come into the City of Brotherly Love and steal at least one of the first two games of the National League Championship Series. Done that. And so, winning Sunday night's Game 2 at Citizens Bank Park would be like sprinkles on a dish of ice cream. Win again with Jonathan Sanchez on the mound against Roy Oswalt, and the Giants will have control of the best-of-seven series heading back to San Francisco for Game 3 on Tuesday. Lose, and well, the Giants still came to town and left with what they wanted to accomplish. On the first night of the series, Tim Lincecum bested Roy Halladay. A heck of a way to start. "Well, it's big to get the first game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said after the Giants held on to defeat the Phillies, 4-3. "We're on the road. We're facing Halladay. We knew we had our work cut out for us. We thought it would be a close game, which it was. But it's a long series and it's just a start. "That's all it is right now. I said [Friday], we all knew that we had to beat the Phillies to get to where we want to go. But the important thing is to get a win to give the team a sense of confidence." The Phillies are the two-time defending NL pennant winners and were World Series victors over the Rays just two years ago. The Game 1 loss puts them in uncharted territory. This is the first time since losing Game 1 of the NL Division Series to the Rockies in 2007 that they've dropped the opening game of a series. Coming into this series they'd won seven first games in a row. The Game 1 loss in '07 led to the Rockies sweeping the best-of-five first round. The Phillies won Game 1 of the World Series over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last year, but went on to lose in six games. Otherwise, six Game 1 wins have translated into series victories. Losing Game 1 this time around casts the Phillies in almost a must-win situation on Sunday. "How does that change [our perspective]?" Phillies manager Charlie Manuel asked. "I look at it this way: How do we play? What do we talk about? We can't do anything about the game we lost right now. We've got to come out and win tomorrow's game. We've been playing that way for the last four years. Look, I don't think we can do anything to bring this game back tonight. It's a loss. So we come out tomorrow, and we come out and play in that moment, try to win that game. That's what we've got to do. That's about the only thing we can do." The 2010 Giants and Phillies have one thing in common: They dug themselves into deep holes in their respective division races and had to work hard to make the playoffs. The Giants were 6 1/2 games behind the Padres in the NL West on Aug. 25 and won the division title on the final day of the season by two games. The Phillies trailed the Braves by seven games as late as July 22 and ran away with the NL East title by six games. The Giants have been playing taut playoff-style games for almost two months now. That's carried over into the postseason where the Giants have played five games, and won four, each ending with the slim margin of a single run. "I think we've been catching people's attention for a while now because we're fighters," Lincecum said. "We're not banging it out for nine runs every game. We're scratching out those one-run games in heartfelt games." Meanwhile, the Phillies are scuffling offensively, hitting .212 as a team in their first four games of the postseason with three homers -- two of them on Saturday night. They face a left-hander in Sanchez who defeated them twice this year, once in Philly and the other in San Francisco. "I'm concerned with that," Manuel said. "We struck out 13 times tonight. I know we need to hit better and score some runs, of course. This guy we're facing on Sunday has got good stuff. If he gets ahead of us in the count, we've got to make him bring the ball up. There's not too many ways we can change our approach at this late date. We've got to put some balls in play and see if we can score some runs."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.