x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

No off-day for injured Halladay

San Francisco miss chance to win in front of their fans as the Phillies pitcher hurts groin but keeps side's pennant hopes alive.

The Phillies’ Roy Halladay has been such “a tough guy”, it did not matter to him he was not fit.
The Phillies’ Roy Halladay has been such “a tough guy”, it did not matter to him he was not fit.

San Francisco missed a chance to win in front of their fans, and now the Philadelphia Phillies come home with a chance for an improbable comeback.

The Phillies beat the Giants 4-2 on Thursday night in San Francisco to stave off elimination in the National League Championship Series.

Game 6 is tonight at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, as the Phillies try to become just the 12th team to come back from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series.

Jonathan Sanchez will pitch for the Giants, who need one win to reach their first World Series in eight years. The Phillies will turn to Roy Oswalt, who is 10-0 in 12 starts at home this year.

"We play good at our ballpark in front of our fans, and kind of regained home-field advantage a little bit," Jayson Werth, the Philadelphia right fielder, said.

Roy Halladay, the Philadelphia starter, strained his groin in the second inning of Thursday night's game, but most of his teammates had no idea he was hurt. "The guy's just a tough guy," Placido Polanco said. "He didn't show it."

Halladay stayed in the game and out-duelled Tim Lincecum, pitching six innings and allowing only two runs.

"It was just something to deal with. You make adjustments and pitch your way through it," Halladay said of his injured right groin. "We know we can win. It's a matter of going out and doing it. We continue to plug away."

Halladay improved to 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three post-season starts this year.

"Of course, he stayed in there," said Charlie Manuel, the Phillies manager. "He was determined he was going to stay in there."

A bunt by Halladay helped spark a three-run third inning for Philadelphia. Two runs scored when Shane Victorino hit a hard grounder off the glove of first baseman Aubrey Huff for an error, and Polanco followed with an RBI single that made it 3-1.

The Giants scored a run in the fourth inning, and the score remained 3-2 until Werth's solo homer in the ninth. That stretched Philadelphia's lead to 4-2 and quieted the raucous sellout crowd of 43,713, and many San Francisco fans began making for the exits before the final out.

Werth's 13 career post-season homers are tied for the most by a National League player.

In a series dominated by pitching, the Phillies are hitting just .209 and the Giants .220.

Little has separated the teams - and despite trailing in the series, Philadelphia has out-scored San Francisco 18-16.

"From our perspective, we see ourselves more in the driver's seat than them," Lincecum said.

Lincecum, the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner, was 2-0 this post-season and pitched another solid game - two earned runs in seven innings - but the offense failed to back him.

"We just didn't play great fundamental baseball tonight," Huff said. "No doubt the error was big but we weren't able to get the big hit with runners in scoring position."

"With this club, we don't do anything easy," Bruce Bochy, the San Francisco manager, said.