Giants move back within a run as Game 5 grows late

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Here come the Giants.

Cody Ross entered this NLCS Game 5 with an incredible .357/.438/.893 batting line, four home runs and eight RBI over 28 postseason at-bats.  So you can probably guess what he did in his fourth-inning plate appearance against Phillies starter Roy Halladay.  (Hint: it was, uh, pretty clutch).

Ross ripped a run-scoring double into right field, scoring fellow Giants outfielder Pat Burrell and pushing the Giants one run closer to the Phillies.

Tim Lincecum then retired the opposition in order in the top of the fifth, Halladay killed a threat in the bottom of the frame and Philadelphia is clinging to a 3-2 lead as this one heads to the sixth.

It’s raining again in San Francisco, a bit harder than before, but few fans have left their seats at AT&T Park.

Halladay is up to 82 pitches and there has been movement in the Phillies’ bullpen.  If he doesn’t reach 100-plus pitches, though, it would go as a major shock.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: