Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt slides safely home under the tag of Giants catcher… (Shannon Stapleton / Reuters )
Reporting from Philadelphia — Jimmy Rollins was in a rut.
Calf and hamstring problems limited the former National League most valuable player to 88 games in the regular season. He was 1 for 15 in the postseason.
But the San Francisco Giants got him started.
Jonathan Sanchez helped him drive in his first run of the postseason by walking him with the bases loaded. Third baseman Mike Fontenot gifted him a hit by letting a popup plop to the field in front of the pitching mound.
Then, Rollins drove a down-the-middle fastball by Ramon Ramirez to the top of the wall in right-center field for a bases-clearing double that blew open the game and sent the Philadelphia Phillies on their way to a 6-1 victory on Sunday night in Game 2 of the NLCS.
The best-of-seven series, which is tied, 1-1, will resume on Tuesday in San Francisco.
Rollins' fortunate resurgence and Roy Oswalt's brilliant eight-inning effort allowed the Phillies to overcome the fourth home run in three games by baseball's are-you-kidding-me man of the moment, Cody Ross.
Ross' fifth inning home run tied the score, 1-1.
The longball also broke up Oswalt's no-hit bid. Home runs by Ross in the Giants' two previous games also counted as the team's first hit, as he took Derek Lowe deep in the sixth inning of the NL division series and did the same to Roy Halladay in the third inning of Game 1 here Saturday.
Ross, who was claimed off waivers in August, has either tied the score or given the Giants the lead with each of his last five hits. His two home runs in Game 1 of this series made him familiar to the fans of Philadelphia, who cheered when Oswalt threw a 93 mph fastball near his head in the second inning.
But the Giants have only one Ross. And, besides, Manager Bruce Bochy continues to pencil him into the bottom third of his team's otherwise impotent offense.
The Giants ran into trouble immediately, as Sanchez had one of his wild spells.
Sanchez struck out the side in the first inning, but also walked three batters, including Rollins, who pushed in the first run of the game to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Sanchez threw 35 pitches that inning.
With Oswalt cruising – the only blip being the homer by Ross – the Phillies reclaimed the advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning, which Shane Victorino led off with a double to left. Victorino scored on a single by Ryan Howard.
The Phillies led, 2-1.
The Phillies put the game out of reach in the seventh inning.
Sanchez was pulled after giving up a lead-off single to Oswalt and gave way to Ramirez. Victorino moved Oswalt to second on a sacrifice bunt, prompting Ramirez to intentionally walk Chase Utley. Placido Polanco singled, driving in Oswalt, who ran through a stop sign by third base coach Sam Perlozzo.
Center field Andres Torres appeared to think Oswalt wouldn't dare to go home and didn't make a strong throw on the play. And first baseman Aubrey Huff further aided Oswalt by cutting off the throw before attempting a relay home.
The Phillies were ahead, 3-1. Rollins was up next.
Oswalt pitched eight innings and held the Giants to a run and three hits. He struck out nine.