Phillies sweep; Rays extend Rangers to fifth game
Another ace, another dominating performance.
Hamels struck out nine in a five-hitter, Chase Utley homered and the Phillies beat the Reds 2-0 on Sunday night to finish off the franchise's first playoff sweep.
Halladay opened this matchup with the second no-hitter in postseason history. With Hamels and Roy Oswalt also rested and ready to go for the next round, look out.
"Having three starters definitely helps," Hamels said. "The playoffs are all about pitching."
The Reds, making their first postseason appearance in 15 years, committed six errors in the last two games of the series.
The NL's top offense also stalled in three playoff games, managing just 11 hits.
-- Giants 3, Braves 2—Brooks Conrad bobbled a grounder. Then he dropped a popup. Finally, a hard shot skidded under his glove in the ninth inning for his third error of the game, allowing San Francisco to rally for a victory over Atlanta.
The Braves were within one out of taking control of the NL division series, but a 30-year-old journeyman infielder who wouldn't have been playing if not for season-ending injuries to Chipper Jones and Martin Prado simply couldn't catch the ball.
Buster Posey's grounder went right under Conrad's glove, his worst miscue yet in a performance that might speed up the retirement of Braves manager Bobby Cox.
Freddy Sanchez raced around with the go-ahead run, and Brian Wilson shut down the Braves in the ninth to give the Giants a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
San Francisco can close it out tonight.
-- Rays 5, Rangers 2— Evan Longoria, Carlos Pena and the Rays are headed back to The Trop, one victory away from an improbable comeback.
Longoria snapped out of his postseason slump with a homer and two doubles, Pena scored twice with a pair of extra-base hits of his own and Tampa Bay escaped elimination again.
After losing the first two games of the AL division series at home, the Rays won both games in Texas to force a deciding Game 5 at Tropicana Field.
"I still want to believe there is a home-field advantage and hopefully that's going to show up," manager Joe Maddon said. "The extra game at home, I have been talking about it all along."
Last updated: 3:16 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012