Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay get down and dirty in NLCS Game 1
Sunday, October 17, 2010; 12:57 AM
Some pitchers duels are art. Others are a brawl. By that measure, the Giants' Tim Lincecum scored a seven-inning TKO over Phillies ace Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series here on Saturday night.
When the star hurlers had finished their work, it was Lincecum, giving away seven inches and 60 pounds in a heavyweight battle, that got the 4-3 victory. Those wins count toward reaching a Series, too, just like 1-0.
No one knows who will win this trip to the World Series. No one knows if Lincecum and Halladay will meet again. "Long series here. It's a start. That's all it is," said Giant Manager Bruce Bochy.
But for one brisk, breezy evening, before a crowd of 45,929 who mocked the Freak's long hair with wolf whistles, the Giants learned their scrawny right-hander, a mere 5 feet 11, 170 pounds, could match haymakers with the Phils and their 6-foot-6, 230-pound, 21-game winner.
In their previous playoff starts, Halladay pitched a no-hitter while Lincecum struck out 14 Braves in a two-hitter. This wasn't one of those masterpiece nights. This was the other kind of fight.
Both pitchers gave up two homers in their seven innings of work. The Giants got their blasts from Cody Ross, whose blows off Halladay landed a half-dozen rows up the left field bleachers. This wasn't a night for pitching glory, just a rumble to see who could win gory. They say before you get in a fight, you better know what you'll do when you see your own blood. Is that when the fight ends? Or when it starts?
Lincecum answered that question. Two-hit shutouts are fun. Beating Halladay in Citizens Bank Park when you're arguing with the home plate ump and the Phils are bouncing balls off walls or over them, that's real work. "First three innings, we hit some balls hard," said Phils Manager Charlie Manuel. "Then it seemed like Lincecum, he hung in there and he battled and he pitched pretty good." You know the old Red Devil hated saying every word of it.
Twice, the Phils hit high flies to right field that, in other ballparks, might be loud warning-track outs. Here, in Citizens Bank Ballpark, they might be doubles off the wall. But on a night when the 13 flags in center field where all snapping directly from left across to right for the first six innings, both those balls - by Carlos Ruiz and Jayson Werth - were blown just over the barrier into the bleachers for homers and all three runs off Lincecum.
That can take away your courage or give you a chance to demonstrate the size of your heart. Lincecum, who fanned eight men, including Ryan Howard twice, retired the last four men he faced and, after 113 pitches, handed the night to the bullpen of lefty Javier Lopez and closer Brian Wilson, who got the last four outs.
"Tim gave us a great effort," said Bochy. "He made a lot of good pitches [in jams]. That's a tough lineup."