PHILADELPHIA - All those derisive whistles sounded like cheers to Tim Lincecum.
The Freak outdueled Roy Halladay, Cody Ross hit a pair of solo homers and the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3, Saturday night in the National League Championship Series opener.
In a mega-hyped matchup between marquee pitchers, neither starter came close to matching his sensational postseason debut last week. Both gave up homers to No. 8 hitters.
“It was big, it sets the pace for the series,” Lincecum said.
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Halladay’s bid for a second straight no-hitter lasted until Ross connected with one out in the third.
Lincecum, who tossed a two-hitter in the division series, gave up three runs on homers to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz in seven innings. But Lincecum got the big outs when he needed them, and the Giants earned their fourth one-run win in the playoffs. The two-time NL champion Phillies lost their first series opener since getting swept by Colorado in 2007.
“I don’t think we can do nothing to bring this game back tonight,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “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.”
Game 2 is tonight. Jonathan Sanchez tries to send the Giants back to San Francisco just two wins from their first World Series since 2002. Roy Oswalt goes for the Phillies.
Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in a 4-0 win over Cincinnati in the first-round opener. The only runner he allowed was a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce.
Pitching on nine days’ rest, Halladay didn’t have the same, dominant stuff. He allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings.
“You find out what you’re made of. You never expect it to be easy,” Halladay said.
A day after Halladay’s gem, Lincecum had 14 strikeouts in San Francisco’s 1-0 win over Atlanta. He gave up six hits and struck out eight against the Phillies.
Lincecum, the reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, had some adventures with a bat in his hands, though.
The notoriously tough Philly fans came up with a unique way to mock Lincecum instead of the usual boos. They serenaded him with whistles when he batted in the fifth and seventh, presumably poking fun at his long, shaggy hair.
“I must have a really nice butt,” Lincecum said. “I was hearing a lot of them.”
His first time up, Lincecum struck out, spinning on one leg after swinging at a slow curve.
Lincecum gave way to Javier Lopez, who got two outs in the eighth. All-Star closer Brian Wilson finished with a four-out save.
The Phillies led the majors in wins (97) for the first time, captured their fourth straight division title and are trying to become the first NL team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.
The Giants are seeking their first World Series title since moving from New York for the 1958 season.
Ross, a Phillies nemesis, ripped a 2-0 pitch to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fifth. He was 3 for 16 off Halladay before taking him deep his first two at-bats.
“It’s just awesome to be in this situation right now, to be able to come here and help this team where it wanted to be,” Ross said.
San Francisco got two key hits with two outs in the sixth to increase the lead to 4-1. Halladay thought he struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning and walked off the mound after an 0-2 pitch, only to return because plate umpire Derryl Cousins called it a ball. Burrell doubled on the next pitch.
Juan Uribe followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz to give the Giants a three-run cushion.
Philadelphia quickly answered in the bottom half. Chase Utley hustled out an infield single and Werth hit a two-run shot to right-center to cut it to 4-3.