Atlanta miscue is ‘Giant’; Phillies finish off Cincinnati
Posted: Monday, October 11, 2010 1:12 pm
By: By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Substitute second baseman Brooks Conrad made his third error of the game in the ninth inning, allowing San Francisco to rally for a 3-2 victory over Atlanta and a 2-1 lead in their NL division series.
The Braves were within one out of taking control of the best-of-five series, but a 30-year-old journeyman infielder who wouldn’t have been playing if not for season-ending injuries to Chipper Jones and Martin Prado simply couldn’t catch the ball.
Buster Posey’s grounder went right under Conrad’s glove, his worst miscue yet in a performance that might speed up the retirement of Braves manager Bobby Cox. Freddy Sanchez raced around with the go-ahead run, and Brian Wilson shut down Atlanta in the ninth for the save.
San Francisco can close it out tonight. For Conrad, the memories of this one will linger for a lifetime. He tied a postseason record for errors in a game and became the fourth second baseman to make three, according to STATS LLC.
Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske lined a two-run homer off Sergio Romo in the eighth, giving Atlanta a 2-1 lead after a stirring pitchers’ duel between Tim Hudson and Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez.
With the Braves missing injured closer Billy Wagner, Aubrey Huff tied it in the ninth on a two-out single off Mike Dunn.
San Francisco scored first when Conrad dropped a second-inning popup in short right field.
Phillies 2, Reds 0
CINCINNATI (AP) — Cole Hamels completed what Roy Halladay started, putting the Philadelphia Phillies back in the NL championship series.
Hamels struck out nine in a five-hitter, Chase Utley homered and the Phillies beat the Reds 2-0 on Sunday night to finish off the franchise’s first playoff sweep.
Philadelphia, trying to become the first NL team in 66 years to win three straight pennants, will host San Francisco or Atlanta in the NLCS opener on Saturday.
Halladay opened this best-of-five series with the second no-hitter in postseason history. Hamels ended it with another dominant performance.
The Reds, making their first postseason appearance in 15 years, committed six errors in the last two games of the series after finishing second in the NL with a club-record .988 fielding percentage during the regular season.
The league’s top offense managed only 11 hits in three games — the fewest for a team in a postseason series, according to STATS LLC. The previous low was 13 by Texas against the New York Yankees in 1998.
Rays 5, Rangers 2
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Evan Longoria snapped out of his postseason slump with a homer and two doubles, Carlos Pena scored twice after a pair of extra-base hits of his own and Tampa Bay escaped elimination again with a victory over Texas.
After losing the first two games of the AL division series at home, the Rays won twice in Texas to force a deciding Game 5 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.
Postseason ace Cliff Lee will start for the Rangers against 19-game winner David Price in a Game 1 rematch.
The winner hosts the New York Yankees in the AL championship series opener Friday night.
Rookie right-hander Wade Davis pitched into the sixth, getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth when he struck out Vladimir Guerrero.
Rafael Soriano worked a perfect ninth for the save.
Tampa Bay, which finished with the AL’s top record in the regular season, is trying to become the only team other than 2001 New York Yankees to win a division series after losing the first two games at home.
Texas is still the lone current major league franchise that’s never won a postseason series. The Rangers are 0-6 in home playoff games.
Pena helped the Rays rally with two big hits Saturday. Add in his first two at-bats Sunday and he hit for the cycle in a span of four at-bats.
Nelson Cruz hit his third homer in four postseason games for Texas.