PHILADELPHIA – No one can say the San Francisco Giants took the easy path to the World Series.
They had to wait until the final day to clinch a playoff spot, then had to wait through a tense final out in Philadelphia.
Brian Wilson, Cody Ross and the Giants can exhale. Now they’ll try to bring the first crown to San Francisco.
Juan Uribe hit a tiebreaking homer off Ryan Madson with two outs in the eighth inning and the Giants held off the Phillies 3-2 Saturday night in Game 6 of the N.L. championship series.
“We had such a diversity of contributions from everybody,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Not bad for a bunch of castoffs and misfits.”
Ross, the unlikely MVP, and the pitching-rich Giants reached the World Series for the first time since 2002 and will host the Texas Rangers in Game 1 on Wednesday night.
The Giants beat out the San Diego Padres to win the N.L. West in Game 162. They ended Bobby Cox’s managerial career with a first-round win over the Atlanta Braves, and now will try for their first championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958.
“I’m speechless, just breathless,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. “It’s a great opportunity to see what we can do on a bigger stage.”
Slumping Phillies slugger Ryan Howard looked at a called third strike — a 90 mph slider at the knees — with runners on first and second to end it. Wilson got the last five outs for his third save of the series, finishing off the Phillies’ bid to become the first N.L. team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.
The sellout crowd fell silent while players jumped around and hugged each other on the field. A small contingent of Giants fans stood behind the visitors’ dugout lingered for a bit and cheered loudly.
“Right now it’s heaven, but it was torture for that final strike,” Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff said.
Giants ace Tim Lincecum struggled in the eighth, pitching in relief on one day of rest after losing Game 5. But Wilson took over and got Carlos Ruiz to line out to Huff for an inning-ending double play in the eighth.
The benches cleared in the third inning after Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez hit Chase Utley with a pitch and then yelled at the All-Star second baseman for tossing the ball back toward the mound on his way to first base.
No punches were thrown and nobody was ejected, though Sanchez was pulled. San Francisco used six pitchers, including four lefties.
“We fought, we scratched and clawed,” said Giants left fielder Pat Burrell, who won a championship ring with the Phillies in 2008. “I don’t know how we did it but we did it.”
The Giants are seeking their first World Series title since 1954 when they were still in New York. Led by Barry Bonds, they came within six outs of winning it in Game 6 against the wild-card Angels in 2002 only to lose in the deciding seventh game.
San Francisco overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit, tied it in the third and went ahead when Uribe hit an opposite-field drive that barely cleared the right-field wall.
“He hit it good,” Madson said. “He it just good enough to get in the first row there. I didn’t expect it. It was shocking to me.”
Wilson came in after Lincecum allowed consecutive, one-out singles. He got Ruiz on a liner to escape the inning.
Wilson had to bat in the ninth after Brad Lidge intentionally walked Buster Posey to load the bases. He took three pitches before bouncing out to first base.
Then Wilson made it interesting in the ninth.
“That’s what we’re tagged as doing,” Wilson said. “Very fitting that it ended that way.”
Giants 3, Phillies 2
a-singled for Affeldt in the 5th. b-struck out for Oswalt in the 6th. c-struck out for Bumgarner in the 7th. d-grounded out for Lidge in the 9th. 1-ran for Polanco in the 9th. E—Polanco (1). LOB—San Francisco 11, Philadelphia 11. 2B—F.Sanchez (1), C.Ross (3), Utley (1), Howard (4), Ibanez (1). HR—Uribe (1). RBIs—A.Huff (3), Uribe (3), Utley (1), Werth (5). S—F.Sanchez, C.Ruiz. SF—Werth. RLISP—San Francisco 5 (Posey 2, Renteria, Br.Wilson 2); Philadelphia 6 (Ibanez, Victorino 3, Rollins, Howard). GIDP—C.Ross, Renteria. DP—San Francisco 1; Philadelphia 2.
|Ja.Lopez W, 1-0||1||0||0||0||0||1||2.08|
|Lincecum H, 1||1/3||2||0||0||0||1||3.14|
|Br.Wilson S, 3-3||12/3||0||0||0||2||1||0.00|
|Madson L, 0-1||2||2||1||1||1||3||1.35|
IR-S—Affeldt 2-0, Br.Wilson 2-0. IBB—off Bumgarner (Werth), off Lidge (Posey), off Madson (A.Huff). HBP—by J.Sanchez (Utley), by Oswalt (Uribe). WP—J.Sanchez. T—3:41. A—46,062 (43,651).