BASEBALL: Giants eliminate Braves, Phillies next in NLCS

Rookie Madison Baumgarner got the start on the hill for the

Ray Parrillo – McClatchy News Services
In another white-knuckle game, the San Francisco Giants advanced
to the National League Championship Series for the fifth time in
the team’s history by edging the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, at Turner
Field to win the NL division series, three games to one.
Ray Parrillo – McClatchy News Services

In another white-knuckle game, the San Francisco Giants advanced to the National League Championship Series for the fifth time in the team’s history by edging the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, at Turner Field to win the NL division series, three games to one. The game ended with closer Brian Wilson getting Melky Cabrera on a grounder to third with runners on first and second.

The Giants will play the Philadelphia Phillies in the next round. The Phillies, who have represented the National League in the last two World Series, winning in 2008, swept the Cincinnati Reds in the first round.

The NLCS begins Saturday with a dream pitching matchup between arguably the two best right-handers in the game – Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum.

The Giants’ four starters allowed the Braves three runs over 29 innings, and they had to be good because runs are hard to come by for the West Division champions.

The Giants took two of three from the Phillies in late April in San Francisco, then the Phillies came back and won two of three from the Giants at Citizens Bank Park in mid-August.

Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez will be well-rested. Giants manager Bruce Bochy went with 21-year-old left-hander Madison Bumgarner in Game 4, saving Lincecum for a possible Game 5.

The pitching matchup Monday favored the Braves. Derek Lowe made his 12th career playoff start, and he was pitching on three days rest rather than the usual four. He had the Giants thoroughly flummoxed until Cody Ross drilled a one-out homer in the sixth.

It was the first hit off Lowe, who had eight strikeouts and faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings.

Lowe was trying to protect a 1-0 lead when Ross homered in the sixth, but Brian McCann put the Braves back on top, 2-1, by sending Bumgarner’s first pitch in the bottom of the sixth over the wall.

But the needle on Lowe’s fuel tank was approaching empty in the seventh. He was pulled after he wrapped two walks around an infield single, and his night was finished. The Giants’ tying run came home when shortstop Alex Gonzalez threw high to second for an error on a fielder’s choice.

Then Ross came up big again with a bases-loaded single that put the Giants in front, 3-2. The lead-footed Burrell was thrown out at the plate trying to score the second run on Ross’s hit.

NLCS schedule

Game 1 – Sat. SF at Phillies

Game 2 – Sun. SF at Phillies

Game 3 – 10/19 Phillies at SF

Game 4 – 10/20 Phillies at SF

*Game 5 – 10/21 Phillies at SF

*Game 6 – 10/23 SF at Phillies

*Game 7 – 10/24 SF at Phillies

*If necessary

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