PHILADELPHIA - This Roy was an ace, and he sparked a big inning with a daring dash around the bases.
Roy Oswalt pitched eight dominant innings, Jimmy Rollins drove in four runs and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants, 6-1, on Sunday night to even the National League Championship Series at one game apiece.
A day after Tim Lincecum outdueled Roy Halladay in a marquee matchup of aces, Oswalt beat Jonathan Sanchez.
The series shifts to San Francisco for Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon. Matt Cain faces Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, the 2008 World Series MVP.
Even though he didn’t finish the outing, it sure was a complete game for Oswalt. He allowed one run and three hits, striking out nine. He also singled and scored after racing through third base coach Sam Perlozzo’s stop sign in the seventh inning.
“I didn’t see it until I got halfway down the line,” Oswalt said of the sign. “I was hoping I would be able to get in there.”
Cody Ross hit his third solo homer in two games for the Giants.
Rollins broke out of a 1-for-15 postseason slump, going 2-for-3 with a bases-loaded walk and a bases-clearing double.
“I knew it was just a matter of time,” Rollins said.
Sanchez gave up three runs – two earned – and five hits in six-plus innings. The tough left-hander had dominated the Phillies in his five previous starts against them, not allowing more than four hits in any outing.
Oswalt chased Sanchez with a line-drive single leading off the bottom of the seventh.
He advanced to second on Shane Victorino’s sacrifice off Ramon Ramirez. After Chase Utley was intentionally walked, Placido Polanco lined a single to center. Oswalt kept running even though Perlozzo, the Mariners’ third base coach from 1993-95 and 2008, gave Oswalt the sign to stop at third.
Oswalt kept running and slid safely home ahead of the relay throw to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.
“That was comical,” Rollins said. “Roy’s got those stiff hips and he looked like he was cardboard running down the line but he got it done tonight.”
Jeremy Affeldt came in and struck out Ryan Howard after a double steal. Jayson Werth was intentionally walked before Santiago Casilla entered to face Rollins.
The 2007 NL MVP, dropped from leadoff to sixth in the batting order since the playoffs started, hit a drive off the right-center field fence to put the Phillies up 6-1.
An appreciative crowd chanted “J-Roll! J-Roll!” with a smiling Rollins standing on second.
Oswalt didn’t allow a hit until Ross connected with one out in the fifth to tie it at 1. He ripped a 1-0 pitch into the left-center field seats – nearly the same spot both of his homers off Halladay landed.
But the Phillies played small-ball — a rarity for this lineup filled with inconsistent sluggers – to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom half.
Victorino, one of the few Phillies with success off Sanchez, lined a double down the left-field line. He advanced to third on Utley’s fly out to right and scored on Polanco’s sacrifice fly to center, which drew a loud ovation.
Acquired from Houston on July 29, Oswalt went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 games with the Phillies. Oswalt – not Halladay or Hamels – was Philadelphia’s best pitcher down the stretch.
The three-time All-Star was 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his previous 10 starts.