Phillies level NL Championship Series 1-1

By Larry Fine

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Philadelphia Phillies tied their best-of-seven National League Championship Series at 1-1 by beating the San Francisco Giants 6-1 Sunday behind the superb pitching of Roy Oswalt and a seventh-inning outburst.

Oswalt ran his unbeaten career mark at Citizens Bank Park to 10-0 with a three-hit performance while striking out nine over eight innings and helped his cause with a single in the seventh and a safe slide home that gave Philadelphia a 3-1 lead.

Jimmy Rollins blew the taut pitchers' duel open by following with a booming, bases-loaded double off the wall in right that scored three more runs and sent a red-clad, white-towel waving crowd into delirium.

"He threw really great," lamented Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He's a really good pitcher. He was on tonight. He had his stuff and we had our work cut out."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Oswalt provided what the club had in mind when they made the trade deadline deal with the Houston Astros to get him.

"It's definitely games like tonight," Manuel said. "That's exactly what we got him for."

The series, which determines the National League team in the World Series, shifts to San Francisco for the next three games starting Tuesday.

A hotly anticipated pitchers' duel arrived a day late, as Oswalt and Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez were both brilliant on the mound following an opening match-up between Roy Halladay and the Giants' Tim Lincecum that failed to meet expectations.

Runs were at a premium as Game Two initially unfolded.

Sanchez struck out the side in the first inning yet gave up the game's first run without benefit of a Phillies hit, on three walks and an error by third baseman Mike Fontenot. A bases-loaded pass to Rollins forced home the run.

The first hit of the game for San Francisco put the Giants on the scoreboard as Cody Ross, who belted two homers in Game One, homered to left-center with one out in the fifth inning.


Philadelphia responded in the bottom of the fifth.

Philadelphia's fireworks then came in the seventh.

Oswalt started things with a sinking line-drive single to center, which ended the night for Sanchez, who had checked the Phillies on five hits and struck out seven.

Three Giants relievers failed to stem the tide. Victorino bunted Oswalt over to second, and after an intentional walk to Chase Utley, Polanco spanked a single to center.

Oswalt ran through the third base coach's stop sign and the throw was cut off and relayed home too late as the pitcher slid home safely.

Utley and Polanco pulled off a double steal and one out later Jayson Werth was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Rollins then crushed a double to score three runs and level the series for the Phillies, who are trying to become the first NL team to win three successive pennants since the 1942-44 St Louis Cardinals.

"I was glad I was the person up there at the moment and able to come through," said Rollins, who has struggled to regain his form since straining his right hamstring. "But you don't celebrate until you win four games."

(Editing by Frank Pingue/Greg Stutchbury/Patrick Johnston; To query or comment on this story email