How quickly things change in the game of baseball.
Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez kicked off the top of the third inning with a bloop single to right-center field, Carlos Ruiz got hit by a pitch, then a bunt by Roy Halladay that should have been called foul was, for some reason, ruled fair.
An error in the next at-bat by Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff gave Shane Victorino second base and allowed both Ibanez and Ruiz to score. Huff should have had the routine groundball, but it bounced off his glove and traveled into shallow center field. 2-1, Phillies.
The odd half-inning was not over. Placido Polanco nearly got beaned by a high-and-tight fastball from Tim Lincecum, stared Lincecum down for a moment, then roped a single to left-center that gave Victorino an easy path toward home. 3-1, Phillies.
Halladay will take the mound in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run lead and the Giants don’t exactly have an explosive offense. Maybe the Phils can survive this NLCS Game 5 and push the seven-game series back to Philadelphia, just as the Yankees did Wednesday in the ALCS. Or, as so often happens, this matchup that has been billed as a “great pitcher’s duel” could turn into an all-out slugfest.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon was once again ejected from an NLCS game, this time in Game 4.
In the top of the eighth inning, closer Wade Davis found himself in a bit of a pickle. He gave up a leadoff home run to Justin Turner, cutting the Cubs’ lead to 3-2. Davis then walked Yasiel Puig. He was able to get Andre Ethier to pop up, bringing up Curtis Granderson. Granderson worked the count 2-2, then fouled off a pitch. And then he appeared to swing through a curve that bounced in the dirt. Catcher Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out, but Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, so it was a foul ball.
Wolf conferred with the other umpires. After a brief delay, the strikeout was overturned and Granderson was given new life in the batter’s box. Only… replays showed that Wolf got it right the first time.
Understandably, Maddon was livid. On the broadcast, one could see Maddon gesturing to the umpires to look at the replay on the video board behind the stands in left field. The argument fell on deaf ears and he was ejected. Thankfully for the Cubs, justice prevailed and Davis struck out Granderson on the next pitch.
It’ll be interesting to see if Maddon makes any political comparisons after the game. He likened the slide rule, the impetus behind his Game 1 ejection, to the soda tax.