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And a rookie shall lead them: Buster Posey carries Giants to brink of World Series

Oct 21, 2010, 12:24 AM EDT

buster-posey-nlcs-game-4

Juan Uribe surprisingly didn’t put up much of a fight in the bottom of the ninth inning when home plate umpire Wally Bell ruled that the 1-1 pitch from Roy Oswalt hit his bat handle and not his hand.

Instead of taking his base Uribe just waited a couple pitches and hit the game-winning sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Aubrey Huff from third base and putting the Giants one win away from the World Series.

Uribe delivered the walk-off blow and also made an excellent defensive play despite being in the game for all of one inning after coming in as part of a double-switch, but it was 23-year-old rookie catcher Buster Posey who carried the Giants all night.

Posey put the Giants up 1-0 with an RBI single in the first inning, made it a 2-0 lead with an RBI double in the third, doubled again in the seventh, and advanced Huff to third base with an opposite-field single off Oswalt in front of Uribe’s game-winning fly ball. Oh, and he also made a great defensive play to cut down Carlos Ruiz at the plate in the fifth inning, picking up a short-hop throw from center fielder Aaron Rowand and hanging on in a catcher-on-catcher collision.

Not a bad night for a kid who was at Triple-A until May 29.

Posey went 4-for-5 overall, becoming just the 13th player in baseball history to have a four-hit game in the playoffs at age 23 or younger. And it’s a helluva list: Miguel Cabrera, Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez, Lenny Dykstra, Joe Garagiola, Hank Greenberg, Joe Medwick, Freddie Lindstrom, Goose Goslin, Frankie Frisch, Donie Bush, Ty Cobb.

Lost in Posey’s historic heroics is that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel made several questionable bullpen moves, including using Game 2 starter Roy Oswalt to pitch the ninth inning in relief on two days’ rest rather than turn to closer Brad Lidge. No doubt Manuel was holding Lidge back for a so-called save situation, but as so often happens when managers make tactical decisions based on the accumulation of that statistic there was ultimately never a lead for Lidge to close out.

If the Phillies are going to turn the NLCS around and get to a third straight World Series they’ll need Oswalt to come up big Saturday in Game 6, but first we’re in for an epic Game 1 rematch between reigning back-to-back Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum and his likely successor Roy Halladay. San Francisco is one victory from the World Series, but if any team can stave off elimination for three straight games it’s the back-to-back National League champs with The Big Three of Halladay, Oswalt, and Cole Hamels.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:32 AM

    I hear Ricky and Darren saying that starting Blanton was not a factor. I hear Uncle Cholly saying Blanton pitched OK, then he says walks killed them in the 5th and 6th. Huh? Cholly…if Halladay is in there, and he gets 5 runs, it’s 2-2 right now. Instead, there is NO margin for error now. I know the big three are pitching, but the Giants just won a game where both starters were out before the 6th inning. They won because Jimmy Rollins popped out with no outs and Werth on second and the game at 5-5 in the 8th. They won because you chose to pitch Blanton tonight. They won because you didn’t send the f’ing runner from first one damn time the whole night. They won because Buster Posey got 4 hits, Huff got 3 hits, and basically…

    The Giants won because they wanted the game more than the Phillies wanted it. Period. Maybe the sense of urgency will come tomorrow. Maybe it won’t. Either way, nothing will surprise me from this point forward. If the Phillies win in 7, I won’t be surprised. If the Giants wrap it up tomorrow, I won’t be surprised. I love him, but Uncle Charlie was severely outmaneuvered tonight.

    • schmedley69 - Oct 21, 2010 at 1:10 AM

      Charlie is pushing all the wrong buttons. He really butchered tonight’s game. How could you not have Rollins bunt in that situation?

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 21, 2010 at 11:17 AM

        He’d probably find a way to pop out on the bunt.

    • BC - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:07 AM

      Like I’ve been saying….. Blanton and Burnett both worked out well didn’t they? (bleeding sarcasm)

      • Kevin S. - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:37 AM

        Girardi hung Burnett out to dry. He should have brought someone in to pitch to Murphy if he didn’t think AJ could get him, not put the go-ahead run on base.

    • Jonny 5 - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:46 AM

      Halladay allowed 4 runs in his first outing against these guys. He went 7 innings. That leaves two more innings for things like Walk off sac flys to happen. Or anything else. Blanton was only a factor in the loss in that Charlie pulled him too soon. Anyway the bull pen and Oswalt tossed this one away, because Blanton was pulled early. Lidge should have been in there in the ninth to hold the tie game. But who knows? We could be talking about how he blew it too today if he was put in then too. c’mon guys, don’t go out like that. You have an Ace on the mound tonight and a bunch of pissed off Phillies. Take this game, and go back to Philly with a one game deficit. It isn’t all that bad if you think about it. Two games with Oswalt and Hamels after you win tonight. If you win tonight.

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM

        At least he gave up on the basketball-like bounce passes to Chooch.

    • ThatGuy - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:13 PM

      Thats odd, I thought they won because they scored more runs then the Phillies.

  2. Reflex - Oct 21, 2010 at 12:37 AM

    Wow. The improbable just might happen. Go Giants, Go Rangers!

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM

      Woooo!

    • mckludge - Oct 21, 2010 at 11:06 AM

      Do you believe in unlikelihoods?

      • Utley's Hair - Oct 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM

        Al Michaels seems to be grasping at straws here.

  3. BC - Oct 21, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    A sign I am old: The pitcher-catcher last night combined are 1 year older than me.
    Now where did I leave that Geritol…..

  4. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Oct 21, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Defense from Uribe? Yes! That was one amazing play (slide/catch/tag in one move!). Posey’s snag and tag at the plate was unbelievable too. If that throw is a half second later, Posey is run over by the runner. Mere milliseconds decided this game…and defense made the difference. Awesome to watch.

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