Giants defeat Phillies, 4-3, in Game 1 of NLCS

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Roy HalladayImage via WikipediaRoy Halladay and Tim Lincecum were knocked around a bit. Nobodies like Cody Ross and Carlos Ruiz were hitting the ball out of the yard. In the city where Santa Claus was once booed, fans whistled at the long-haired Lincecum as if he were an attractive female when he stepped to the plate for a fifth-inning at-bat.

And something else: the San Francisco Giants beat the heavily favored Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

A couple of home runs by Ross, run-scoring hits by Pat Burrell and Juan Uribe, and a four-out save by All-Star closerBrian Wilson were enough to lead the group of kids and castoffs to their first NLCS win in eight years.

Game 2 will be on Sunday.

Halladay and Lincecum didn't pitch poorly, but they were nowhere near as dominant as they were in their postseason debuts in their respective division series.

The two former Cy Young award recipients both pitched seven innings. Halladay gave up eight hits and four runs while Lincecum surrendered three runs on six hits and three walks.

Early on, the showdown between Halladay and Lincecum looked as if it had a chance to be the type of pitchers' duel that would justify that countless newspaper pages and blocks of airtime devoted to previewing it.

Halladay, who no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in his playoff debut last round, started the game by hurling two perfect innings. He joined Don Larsen and Dave McNally as the only pitchers to ever retire 30 consecutive batters in the postseason.

Lincecum nearly matched Halladay, limiting the Phillies to a double by Ryan Howard and nothing else in the first two innings.

Then the game took a turn for the strange.

Ross, the Giants' No. 8 hitter, took a Halladay pitch over the left-field wall in the third inning to put his team ahead, 1-0.

The Phillies immediately struck back, as their own No. 8 hitter, Carlos Ruiz, homered off Lincecum in the bottom of the inning to tie the score, 1-1. The Phillies had men on second and third later in the inning, but LIncecum escaped by striking out Howard.

A second home run by Ross, again to left field, put the Giants back on top, 2-1, in the fifth inning.

The margin increased to 4-1 in the sixth inning when Buster Posey reached base on a two-out single and scored on a double to left by Burrell, who was facing his former team. A single to center by Uribe drove in Burrell.

The Phillies cut into the lead right away, as Jayson Werth hit a two-run home run that cut their deficit to 4-3.

The Giants had to hang on.

The last time Wilson entered the game in the eighth inning, he blew a save in an eventual loss to theAtlanta Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS.

There was no such meltdown on this night. Called on with two outs in the eighth inning, Wilson gave up a single to Werth but struck out Jimmy Rollins.

Wilson hit Ruiz in the hand in the ninth inning – or came close enough to hitting him that home plate umpire Derryl Cousins was convinced that Ruiz was hit – to put a man on first with one out in the ninth inning. But Wilson struck out Ross Gload and Shane Victorino to end the game.

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