Harry Leroy "Doc" Halladay had given up only three runs in four starts (33 innings) before coming to San Francisco to face a Giants team that had scored only eleven runs in its last seven games. This being baseball, the Giants rapped out TEN HITS and scored FIVE RUNS off one of the toughest pitchers in the game and nailed down the best win of the young season. Jonathan Sanchez labored against the relentless Phillies, facing 24 batters and throwing 107 pitches to get 15 outs, striking out six but also walking five. Mota, Affeldt, and Romo combined to shut down the defending champs over the final three innings, with Sergio punctuating the dramatic finish by striking out Chase Utley looking to end the game. The Phils only managed four hits and struck out eleven times but still sent 39 batters to the plate and saw 162 pitches. Victorino was on base three times, Polanco twice, Utley three times, Howard once, and Werth twice--the top of their lineup is as good as any in the game and they make you work for your outs. But the Giants refused to break and showed they can play ball with the big boys. Swinging early in the count against Halladay, Renteria, Sandoval, and DeRosa combined for three hits and two runs in the 1st inning. John Bowker and Eli Whiteside smacked back-to-back doubles in the 2nd and it was 3-0 against a man who hadn't allowed more than two runs in a game yet this season. Aubrey Huff got an RBI hit in the 6th after another double, this one by the Panda, who seemingly can hit any pitch off any pitcher. This was a nasty-looking cut fastball that was low and inside, but Sandoval squared up on it nonetheless. Eli Whiteside wasn't done either, slashing a line-drive home run down the left-field line an on 0-1 fastball to lead off the 7th. There were a lot of great moments in tonight's game: Torres beating out a bunt for a hit after Halladay had mowed down ten in a row, Sandoval scooting home ahead of Victorino's throw on Huff's hit, and Sanchez striking out Howard, losing Utley to a walk, but getting Ben Francisco to pop up to end the 5th with two on and a run in. A terrific team effort to get a huge win against a great club. And with the production the Giants are getting from the catching spot (Whiteside .882 SLG, Molina .362 OBP), looks like Buster will stay a while longer in AAA. I suppose every silver lining has its cloud!
p.s. Padres lose, Giants tied for 1st place at 11-8.