Holding Giants at bay

SAN FRANCISCO — Roy Halladay pitched a perfect game in May. He pitched a no-hitter in his postseason debut.

But Brad Lidge said Halladay's performance Thursday night in a 4-2 victory over the Giants that extended the Phillies' season ranked among his greatest pitching achievements.

By itself, Halladay's line in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series wasn't particularly remarkable. He pitched six innings, giving up two runs and six hits.

But from the second inning on, Halladay pitched with a mild groin pull.

"I think it's one of the most impressive outings he ever has had," said Lidge, who closed the game.

"He gutted it out."

The Phillies trail the best-of-seven series 3-2 but will be home for the remainder of the series. And they will get to send their two other tri-aces to the mound: Roy Oswalt in Game 6 and, if they get that far, Cole Hamels in Game 7.

"To be honest, I didn't even know," Placido Polanco said of Halladay's injury. "I mean, the guy's just tough and he didn't show it. He didn't tell anybody."

Halladay, who won his rematch with Giants ace Tim Lincecum, didn't sound as impressed.

"It's not ideal," he said of his leg injury.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he jokingly asked Halladay when he would be available next.

"Next year?" Manuel said he asked.

Halladay's response: "Five days."

Halladay ruined the plans of the locals at AT&T Park, who were ready to celebrate.

Willie Mays was one of four players from the first Giants team to play in this city who took the field for the first pitch ceremony.

Two members of the Grateful Dead performed the national anthem. Fans pumped their fists in unison as images of the foul-mouthed degenerates from the television show "Jersey Shore" were displayed on the video scoreboard.

The game started well for the Giants, as Halladay walked leadoff batter Andres Torres and gave up a hit to Freddy Sanchez. When Halladay fell behind No. 3 hitter Aubrey Huff 2-0, he received a rare visit from pitching coach Rich Dubee.

Halladay forced Huff to line out to third and got Buster Posey to hit a potential double-play grounder.

But second baseman Chase Utley couldn't get the ball into his glove right away, costing the Phillies and allowing Torres to make it 1-0.

Lincecum's first two innings were perfect. His third would result in his downfall.

Lincecum started the inning by giving up a hit to Raul Ibanez and plunking Carlos Ruiz.

Halladay then bunted them over and they scored on Huff's error. Shane Victorino, who hit the ball Huff booted, scored on Placido Polanco's single to extend the Phillies' lead to 3-1.

The Giants took back a run in the fourth when Pat Burrell and Cody Ross hit back-to-back doubles to close the margin to 3-2.

But Jayson Werth threw out Ross to end the inning after he had tagged up and bolted to third on Pablo Sandoval's fly to right field.

Werth added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, when he hit an opposite-field home run over the towering brick wall in right field.

dhernandez3@tribune.com

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