Uribe blast launches Giants into Series
Phillies ousted by improbable win
PHILADELPHIA — The San Francisco Giants did not clinch their playoff berth until the final day of the season. For a team with a makeshift lineup, that appeared likely to be their greatest accomplishment of 2010.
Now they’re headed for the World Series.
Juan Uribe, who missed two starts in the National League Championship Series with a sore wrist, belted a home run in the eighth inning of Game 6 last night that gave the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The World Series starts Wednesday in San Francisco. The Giants have not won the Series since 1954 when the franchise was in New York. They moved to San Francisco after the ’57 season and have won the pennant only three times since, the last time in 2002.
Texas is favored. But the Giants have something special going, having won six of their seven postseason games by one run.
“The World Series. It sounds delicious,’’ said closer Brian Wilson, who got the final five outs for his third save of the series. “I have ultimate faith in this team. We got this far, we can win four more games.’’
Cody Ross, who has four home runs and eight RBIs in the postseason, was named Most Valuable Player.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,’’ said Ross, who was claimed off waivers from the Marlins in late August. “I don’t think anybody expected this team to get this far and now we have a chance to win it all.’’
After starter Jonathan Sanchez went only two innings, looking shaky all the while, five San Francisco relievers combined on six shutout innings to send the two-time defending NL champion Phillies home for the winter.
Javier Lopez, who won a ring with the Red Sox in 2007, got the win.
The final out did not come easily. Wilson walked two batters in the ninth inning and had to face Phillies slugger Ryan Howard with two outs. Howard struck out looking on a 3-2 fastball slider as the crowd of 46,062 groaned.
“I had to make that pitch,’’ said Wilson, a New Hampshire native who has not allowed an earned run in nine postseason innings. “I was confident I would do it. I didn’t want to load the bases.’’
Howard did not drive in a run in nine postseason games and struck out 12 times, the most in an NLCS since John Shelby of the Dodgers struck out a dozen times in 1988.
The Phillies were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and 8 for 45 (.178) in the series. They left 11 runners on base last night.
“They deserved to win,’’ Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “The Giants have a better offense than people think. They’re scrappy and their pitching is good.’’
His hat soaked with champagne, Giants manager Bruce Bochy leaned against a wall in his clubhouse and admitted his surprise.
“Call them misfits, call them whatever you want. But they knew how to win,’’ he said. “This team has experience and character and they find a way. Tonight was the same game we’ve been playing all year.’’
After Sanchez gave up two runs in the first inning, the Giants came back with two runs in the third inning. Sanchez started it with a single. Andres Torres followed with a blast to center that chased Shane Victorino to the wall and fell in.
Sanchez advanced only as far as second base. A bunt by Freddy Sanchez moved the runners up. Aubrey Huff’s single to center scored Jonathan Sanchez but Torres was thrown out at the plate.
The next hitter, Buster Posey, hit a ball slowly to third. Placido Polanco’s throw was into the runner, got away from Howard, and Huff scored.
The proceedings got heated in the third inning. With a runner on first, Jonathan Sanchez hit Utley in the back with a fastball. As he walked up the line, the ball bounced to Utley and he flipped it in the direction of Sanchez.
The pitcher took exception and as the two jawed, the benches cleared.
No punches were thrown but Bochy decided he had seen enough of Sanchez. Jeremy Affeldt came in and left the runners stranded, retiring Howard, Jayson Werth, and Shane Victorino in order to end the inning.
There were no runs scored until the eighth inning when Uribe, with two outs, went the other way with a slider and drove it just over the fence in right field.
“I looked at it and I said, ‘Oh, no,’ ’’ Manuel said.
The Giants went to Game 5 starter Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the eighth to protect their one-run lead. He struck out Werth before Victorino and Raul Ibanez had singles.
Bochy called in Wilson, who got Carlos Ruiz to line to first base. Victorino had wandered off second and was doubled off to end the inning.
“We were one hit, one out away all game,’’ Victorino said. “We never got it.’’