Tim Lincecum saves it for utterly spent Giants

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PHILADELPHIA – The Giants’ 9-6 victory over the Phillies lasted 14 innings, involved 16 pitchers throwing 507 times to the plate, took five hours and 46 minutes, included more cramping than a track meet for septuagenarians and it finally ended 7 minutes before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning at Citizens Bank Park when Tim Lincecum really and truly recorded his first career save.

“Eck!” shouted Giants coach Shawon Dunston, as Lincecum met with reporters.

“Not without the mustache,” said Lincecum, who is clean-shaven again but for the soul patch.

Rather than rehash every draining detail, which is conveniently available for your digestion in the Instant Replay, let’s jump straight into the zany aftermath.

This is what you didn’t know while you were watching:

–Giants manager Bruce Bochy and interim pitching coach Mark Gardner decided prior to the game to hold off having Lincecum throw his side session, just in case they came upon an emergency-glass situation. Makes sense. Their long guy all season, Yusmeiro Petit, was starting and George Kontos threw two of the bullpen’s six innings the previous night. That turned out to be a prescient thought.

–If the Giants hadn’t taken the lead on Brandon Crawford’s three-run double in the 14th, Lincecum wouldn’t have appeared in the bottom of the inning when Kontos ran out of gas with one out and two aboard.

“I was only going to use Lincecum in that situation, with a lead,” Bochy said.

–If the game had remained tied in the 14th, the next pitcher after Kontos would’ve been left fielder Tyler Colvin, Bochy said.

“I asked him if he’d pitched before and he said high school,” said Bochy, and as a side note, Brandon Belt would’ve been forever jealous if that would have happened.

–Lincecum is still good to go Friday against the Dodgers at AT&T Park. He went down to the bullpen in the 13th and ended up throwing 21 pitches. And yes, as he jogged out to the mound, he did think back to his relief appearance here in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS.

“Just get outs,” he said, asked his mindset. “Really, just try to keep my teammate’s runs from scoring. … That just shows a lot from our guys. Putting in all that work that they did, you want to make sure it isn’t for nothing.”

Lincecum did allow one of his two inherited runners to score, on a ground out. He wasn’t happy about that. It was the only run Giants relievers have allowed in 15 innings over two games here.

–Yes, a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter and recorded a save in the same season. Sandy Koufax actually did it three times, in 1962, ’64 and ’65.

–How did Hector Sanchez, who caught all 248 pitches, look to Lincecum in the 14th?

“Like he was wearing it pretty good,” said Lincecum, “and I wasn’t helping the cause.”

Sanchez was cramping up between pitches. Afterward, he did shirtless jumping jacks on his way to the shower, and yelled out, “I’m ready to go tomorrow!” He was joking, of course.

–Kontos threw 40 pitches one night after he threw 21, and said he could give Bochy a couple batters if needed on Wednesday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t joking.

“I pride myself on being able to do this kind of thing,” said Kontos, who began his pro career as a starter.

–The Giants’ nine pitchers matched the second most used in a game in all-time franchise history. They used 11 in an 11-inning loss in 2012 against the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Oddly enough, Kontos, the winning pitcher in both of these games in Philadelphia, took the loss that day.

–Bochy said he didn’t anticipate a roster move despite the heavy bullpen usage. Jeremy Affeldt threw 39 pitches and will be off-limits, and so will Kontos no matter what he says. But other guys went short enough to be available. Regardless, Wednesday night would be an excellent time for Madison Bumgarner to flirt with a complete game.

–Madison Bumgarner had a hitter’s shin guard strapped to his leg pretty much from the 11th inning on, which shouldn’t surprise you. He wasn’t used. Tim Hudson and Ryan Vogelsong were the only other Giants who didn’t get into the game.

–Buster Posey had four hits, finished a triple short of the cycle, matched his career high with three extra-base hits, improved to 10 for 23 on the trip (.435) and took the team lead with 53 RBIs. His tying, ninth-inning home run off Jonathan Papelbon was the first the Phillies’ closer had allowed all season. He had faced 148 batters before Posey took him deep.

“He’s a good player, and when those players get in that zone, they’re fun to watch,” Bochy said.

It wouldn’t have been as much fun for Posey if he had started behind the plate.

–Crawford, who earlier in the game committed his second error in two nights, had what might have ranked among his biggest hits ever against a right-hander. He was batting .207 against them entering the game but his three-run double off Jeff Manship snapped a tie in the 14th.

“They were getting a little tired,” said Crawford, asked if he had his legs under him. “I think everybody’s were. I tried to keep it simple. We only needed one run. I tried to stay compact, more than earlier in the game, and hit it on the barrel.”

–Bochy cancelled batting practice and players will arrive later than usual on Wednesday. Strength and conditioning coach Carl Kochan yelled to Sanchez to meet him at 2 p.m. to run stadium stairs. He was joking. Even if he were serious, Sanchez would not be running stadium stairs.

–Joe Panik’s ankle swelled up after he sprained it while trying to avoid pitcher Roberto Hernandez’s foot at first base in the first inning. He was replaced in the bottom of the second. He expects to be out two days or so, but the Giants aren’t discussing the disabled list.

–Because of Panik’s injury, Ehire Adrianza had seven at-bats in a game he didn’t start, which established an all-time Giants franchise record. The previous mark of six at-bats (also plate appearances) was done many times, last by Harry Spilman in 1986.

(Yuniesky Betancourt was the last big leaguer to come off the bench and get seven at-bats, for the Royals in 2012. The major league record is nine – and 10 plate appearances, too – by Tom Paciorek for the White Sox in 1984.)

–Finally, Panik’s parents earned the Croix de Broad Street. They were among the select few who stayed for the entire game.

“A couple friends, too,” he said. “They’re troopers.”

Them, and everyone else on the visiting side.

Phillies down Astros for 1st playoff berth since 2011

Philadelphia Phillies v Houston Astros
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HOUSTON – Aaron Nola took a perfect game into the seventh inning and Kyle Schwarber homered twice as the Philadelphia Phillies clinched their first playoff berth in 11 years with a 3-0 win over the Houston Astros on Monday night.

After Brandon Marsh caught Mauricio Dubon’s fly ball in center for for the game’s final out, players jumped and cheered in jubilation before meeting at the mound where they hugged and bounced around some more.

The video board at Minute Maid Park displayed the team’s logo and the words: “Congratulations Philadelphia” as the Phillies celebrated.

A small but vocal group of Philadelphia fans congregated near the team’s dugout and chanted: “Let’s go Phillies,” in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Phillies clinched at the same ballpark where they secured their last postseason trip on Sept. 14, 2011. That game was a 1-0 victory over the Astros highlighted by a complete game shutout by Hall of Famer Roy Halladay.

Philadelphia’s postseason drought was the longest active one in the majors after the Seattle Mariners clinched their first playoff berth in 21 years Friday night.

The Phillies entered the opener of the final regular season series of the year needing a win or a loss by the Brewers to get a National League Wild Card spot. The Brewers rallied to beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings a few minutes before Philadelphia wrapped up the victory.

Nola (11-13) struck out nine and didn’t allow a baserunner until Yordan Alvarez singled with two outs in the seventh. David Hensley followed with a single and Nola was replaced by Jose Alvarado, who struck out Kyle Tucker to end the inning.

Zach Eflin pitched a scoreless ninth to complete the shutout and get his first save in 11 years of pro ball.

Schwarber got things going for the Phillies in their first visit to Houston since Sept. 16, 2012, with a leadoff homer off Lance McCullers (4-2)

Philadelphia added some insurance when Bryson Stott and Schwarber hit back-to-back solo shots off Jose Urquidy to start the eighth inning.

It is the eighth multi-home run game this season for Schwarber, who leads the NL with a career-high 46 home runs, and gives him 199 homers in his career.

The Phillies have three players who will appear in the postseason for the first time after playing more than 600 career games. Jean Segura leads the group with 1,327, J.T. Realmuto has 1,004 and Rhys Hoskins is at 666.

McCullers allowed six hits and one run with five strikeouts in six innings.

Manager Dusty Baker replaced Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Jeremy Pena with Aledmys Diaz, Dubon and Hensley for the seventh inning.

He said before the game that he planned to get some of his starters out early to rest since Houston has already clinched the best record in the American League.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP Brad Hand (elbow tendinitis) threw a bullpen session Monday in Houston and could throw live batting practice Wednesday. If that goes well, he could be ready to return for the postseason.

UP NEXT

Houston Justin Verlander, whose 1.80 ERA leads the majors, will try for his 18th win when the series continues Tuesday against Ranger Suarez (10-6, 3.37).