The Freak outdueled Roy Halladay, Cody Ross hit a pair of solo homers and the San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Saturday night in the NL championship series opener.
In a mega-hyped matchup between marquee pitchers, neither starter came close to matching his sensational postseason debut last week. Both gave up homers to No. 8 hitters.
"It was big, it sets the pace for the series," Lincecum said. Halladay's bid for a second straight no-hitter lasted until Ross connected with one out in the third.
Lincecum, who tossed a two-hitter in the division series, gave up three runs on homers to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz in seven innings.
But Lincecum got the big outs when he needed them, and the Giants earned their fourth one-run win in the playoffs. The two-time NL champion Phillies lost their first series opener since getting swept by Colorado in 2007.
"I don't think we can do nothing to bring this game back tonight," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It's a loss. So we come out tomorrow, and we come out and play in that moment, try to win that game. That's what we've got to do."
Game 2 is Sunday night. Jonathan Sanchez tries to send the Giants back to San Francisco just two wins from their first World Series appearance since 2002. Roy Oswalt goes for the Phillies.
Halladay threw the second no-hitter in postseason history in a 4-0 win over Cincinnati in the first-round opener. The only runner he allowed was a fifth-inning walk to Jay Bruce.
Pitching on nine days' rest, Halladay didn't have the same, dominant stuff. He allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings.
"You find out what you're made of. You never expect it to be easy," Halladay said.
A day after Halladay's gem, Lincecum had 14 strikeouts in San Francisco's 1-0 win over Atlanta. He gave up six hits and struck out eight against the Phillies.
Lincecum, the reigning two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, had some adventures with a bat in his hands, though.
The notoriously tough Philly fans came up with a unique way to mock Lincecum instead of the usual boos. They serenaded him with whistles when he batted in the fifth and seventh, presumably poking fun at his long, shaggy hair.
"I must have a really nice butt," Lincecum said. "I was hearing a lot of them."
His first time up, Lincecum struck out, spinning on one leg after swinging at a slow curve.
Lincecum gave way to Javier Lopez, who got two outs in the eighth. All-Star closer Brian Wilson finished with a four-out save.
The Phillies led the majors in wins (97) for the first time in franchise history, captured their fourth straight division title and are trying to become the first NL team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.
The Giants are seeking their first World Series title since moving from New York for the 1958 season.
Ross, a Phillies nemesis, ripped a 2-0 pitch to the seats in left to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fifth. He was 3 for 16 off Halladay before taking him deep his first two at-bats.
"It's just awesome to be in this situation right now, to be able to come here and help this team where it wanted to be," Ross said.
San Francisco got two key hits with two outs in the sixth to increase the advantage to 4-1. Halladay thought he struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning and walked off the mound after an 0-2 pitch only to return because plate umpire Derryl Cousins called it a ball. Burrell hit an RBI double on the next pitch - left fielder Raul Ibanez made a leaping attempt in front of the wall and the ball bounced out of his glove.
"Apparently, it was close," Burrell said of the near strikeout. "I was just trying to get a good swing."
Juan Uribe followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz to give the Giants a three-run cushion.
Philadelphia quickly answered in the bottom half. Chase Utley hustled out an infield single and Werth hit a two-run shot to right-center to cut it to 4-3.
Halladay retired the first seven batters before Ross drove a fastball into the seats in left-center. Players in the Giants' dugout jumped out of their seats and a fired-up Burrell smacked the railing as Ross rounded the bases.
Ruiz led off the bottom half with an opposite-field shot to right to tie it up at 1. Halladay followed with a single, getting his second postseason hit before giving up two. After Shane Victorino bounced into a double play, Placido Polanco lined a double.
Lincecum then walked Utley and drew a visit from manager Bruce Bochy after gesturing and yelling at Cousins. Bochy's pep talk worked. Lincecum struck out Ryan Howard swinging at a slider after a passed ball put runners at second and third.
"I just wanted to calm him down," Bochy said. "He's really hyped up a little bit. He was in a jam, wanted to make sure he kept his poise ad he made some good pitches to Howard."
The Phillies wasted a chance in the second when Howard, the only major league player to have as many as three career homers off Lincecum, lined a double to left-center to start the inning. But Lincecum fanned Werth. Jimmy Rollins popped out two pitches after Cousins mistakenly rung him up on strike two. Ibanez flied out to center, stranding Howard.
Philadelphia eliminated the Reds in three games for its first postseason sweep in round one. The Giants beat the Braves in four games - all decided by one run.
Halladay lived up to giant expectations in his first season in Philadelphia after 12 years with Toronto. The 33-year-old right-hander finished 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA. He tied CC Sabathia for most wins and led the majors in complete games (nine), shutouts (four) and innings (250 2-3).
Halladay threw a perfect game in May, made his seventh All-Star game and is the leading candidate to win his second Cy Young.
He was acquired from the Blue Jays on the same day the Phillies traded Cliff Lee to Seattle. Lee is 6-0 in the postseason, including 4-0 for the Phillies last year, heading into his start for Texas against the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night.
Lincecum had an up-and-down year after dominating in his first two full seasons. The 26-year-old righty had a career-worst five-start losing streak in August, but rebounded nicely and finished 16-10 with a 3.43 ERA.
NOTES: The Phillies are 23-10 in the postseason since 2008. ... The Phillies are making their ninth appearance in the NLCS. They're 5-3. ... The Giants are 2-2 in the NLCS. ... Former Phillies and Giants CF Garry Maddox, a member of Philadelphia's 1980 championship team, threw out the first pitch. ... Former Phillies outfielders Burrell and Aaron Rowand got loud ovations during pregame introductions. Burrell was booed each time he came up. ... The teams split six games in the regular season, each going 2-1 at home. ... Ross has 15 career homers vs. Philadelphia. ... Ruiz has reached safely in 24 straight playoff games. ... Johnny Vander Meer remains the only pitcher to throw consecutive no-hitters, doing it in 1938 for Cincinnati. ... A crowd of 45,929 was the 134th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. ... Halladay's hitless streak of 11 innings is second longest in postseason history to Don Larsen, STATS LLC said. Larsen was perfect for Yankees against Brooklyn in 1956 World Series and for 2 1-3 innings of relief in 1957 series against Milwaukee.