Baseball

Can Oswalt save Phillies’ season?

pHILADELPHIA – Roy Oswalt is right at home – pitching as a starter in a ballpark where he has never lost.

Back in a familiar role after an unsuccessful guest appearance as a reliever, Oswalt gets the ball for Game 6 today when the Phillies try to even the National League Championship Series against San Francisco.

Oswalt dominated the Giants in Game 2 but took the loss when he came out of the bullpen and allowed Juan Uribe’s game-ending sacrifice fly in the ninth inning in Game 4.

Roy Halladay helped the Phillies avoid elimination with a gutsy effort pitching through a groin pull Thursday night, sending the series back to Philadelphia with the Giants ahead 3-2.

Now it’s Oswalt’s turn. He’s 10-0 lifetime at Citizens Bank Park.

“You never are guaranteed anything,” Oswalt said Friday. “Doesn’t matter how good a team you have, you may not ever get back in this situation. So when you are here, you try to do everything possible when you’re here.”

For Oswalt, that means pitching whenever he’s needed, including in relief on two days of rest. The three-time All-Star righty entered in the ninth with the score tied at 5 on Wednesday night. He allowed a pair of singles before Uribe’s one-out fly to left ended it.

“Numbers, to me, are no big deal,” Oswalt said. “I didn’t want to get the loss for sure. But you never know when you’re going to get back here. So that’s one of the reasons I wanted to be in the game the other night. I don’t know how much longer I’m going to play. But I may not get to this spot again. So I’m going to try to do everything possible to get to that final game.”

Jonathan Sanchez, the Game 2 loser, takes the mound for San Francisco. The Giants are looking for their first pennant since Barry Bonds led them to within six outs of the World Series title in 2002.

Sanchez gave up three runs – two earned – and five hits in six-plus innings last Sunday night. The tough lefty had dominated the Phillies in his five previous starts against them, not allowing more than four hits in any outing.

Sanchez beat San Diego on the final day of the regular season to lead San Francisco to the NL West title. He’d like one more clinching victory.

“It’s going to be great to get to the World Series,” Sanchez said. “Never been there. We’ve got a lot of guys on the team that have never been there, and to be able to do that, it’s going to be something special for me.”

This will be Oswalt’s sixth start against the Giants this year. They beat him three times during the regular season when he was with Houston. He’s beaten them twice with the Phillies.

Acquired from Houston on July 29, Oswalt went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 13 games with the Phillies. He was 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in his last 10 starts.

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