SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – Cody Ross came through with another key hit this postseason, Matt Cain dazzled to outduel Cole Hamels and the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 on Tuesday to take a 2-1 lead in the NL championship series.
Ross hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie and fellow playoff first-timer Aubrey Huff followed with a run-scoring single. The Giants grabbed the edge in their best-of-seven series against the two-time defending NL champions— with two more games in their home ballpark.
Those were the first runs allowed this postseason by Hamels, who pitched a five-hit shutout in the division series clincher against Cincinnati. That was the sixth career postseason win for the 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP, tying Hall of Famer Steve Carlton’s franchise record.
Picked up late in the season from Florida, Ross added to his quickly growing postseason legacy. He homered three times in the first two games at Philadelphia and hit an RBI single in Game 3 to break a scoreless tie.
“He plays with no fear,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “That’s what you like about the guy.”
Bochy even tinkered with his lineup, moving Ross up into the No. 5 spot. The good-natured guy who aspired to be a rodeo clown as a kid came to the plate to chants of “Cody! Cody!”
“I’m just going up there trying to relax, stay calm, make something happen,” Ross said.
The Giants added another run in the fifth inning when Freddy Sanchez’s soft liner took a tricky hop off Utley and into shallow center field to score Aaron Rowand from second base on the single.
Cain entered the game 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in five starts against the Phillies – the highest ERA he has against any NL opponent. He had no such trouble Wednesday, picking up where he left off when he allowed no earned runs in 6 2-3 innings in the division series against Atlanta.
Cain escaped trouble a few times, holding Philadelphia hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Phillies have just three hits in 32 at-bats with runners in scoring position this series.
It was a festive atmosphere in San Francisco, with fans waving their orange towels and a pregame flyover. There were also four members of the 2002 NL champion Giants on hand, including all-time home run leader Barry Bonds.
Bonds, wearing a Giants jersey with his No. 25 on it, jumped up and down, waving his arms in the dugout before being introduced to the crowd. He received loud cheers from the fans who probably would have liked his bat in the lineup, with a few boos sprinkled in. Bonds, Robb Nen, J.T. Snow and Shawon Dunston all threw out ceremonial first pitches. Bonds doffed his cap and waved to the crowd as he walked off the field with former teammates.
Bonds watched the game from the front row near the Giants dugout and posed for pictures for fans.
Game 4 is Wednesday night, with Madison Bumgarner starting for the Giants against Joe Blanton.
The Giants have never won the World Series since moving to San Francisco for the 1958 season. They came close in 2002, led by Bonds’ slugging.
The last time the Giants franchise won the World Series was 1954, when it played in New York. On a team that included future Hall of Famer Willie Mays and other big-name players, it was a part-time outfielder who hit .253 in his career—Dusty Rhodes— who emerged as the Series star with two homers in six at-bats.
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