PHILADELPHIA — In his previous life here, Pat Burrell rather
than Raul Ibanez would’ve been the one in left trying to
desperately run down a long drive in the gap knowing the game might
be hanging in the balance. After all, for nine years at Citizens
Bank Park — and before that, the Vet — that was his turf.
But there’s no room for sentiment in the National League
Championship Series. Two years ago, Burrell led the Phils’ World
Championship parade down Broad Street.
Now he and the Giants are trying to ruin their
party, to make sure Charlie Manuel’s team doesn’t become the first
NL club since the 1942-44 Cardinals to win three straight
“There’s a lot of memories because of all the time I spent
here,” sighed Burrell, after Ibanez was unable to flag his RBI
double, which turned out to be a crucial hit in the Giants’ 4-3 win over the Phillies in
Game 1. “Really great memories, and it’s hard not to think of
“But you know what? It’s business time. All that’s over with.
I’m on a new team — with the same goal.”
Step one — of four — of that goal was accomplished Saturday in
large part thanks to Burrell. After ripping his sixth-inning double
off a suddenly vulnerable Roy Halladay, he was lifted for pinch
runner Nate Schierholtz, who promptly came around to score what
proved to be the decisive run when slumping Juan Uribe singled up
the middle to make it 4-1.
“He made a heck of an effort to get back there and got his glove
on it,” said Burrell, who had to hold his breath on an 0-2 fastball
moments earlier, which Halladay thought should’ve been strike
three. “You never know in this park.
“You can hit some balls certain days and they can go over the
fence and some days they don’t. You just have to run out of the box
and try to get to second base.
“Fortunately for us he wasn’t able to grab it.”
Tim Lincecum, with help from Javier Lopez and closer Brian
Wilson, took it from there, and suddenly Burrell and the Giants are three wins away from
something he couldn’t have possibly imagined months ago after being
released by Tampa Bay.
Having been there once before not that long ago, Burrell wants
that taste again.
“It’s easy for guys to come together when everyone has the same
goal,” said Burrell, after another castoff, Cody Ross, twice took
Halladay out of the yard to set the tone. “And that’s obviously to
“There’s a lot of guys here that didn’t start the year here that
are big parts of this team. Starting with a different team and
having it turn out the way it did is not what you hoped for,
obviously. But the Giants gave me an opportunity to
come out here and play.
“I just tried to make the most of it.”
Facing Halladay, coming off a bravura performance vs. the Reds
in the NLDS that put him in Don Larsen’s previously exclusive
neighborhood for throwing a no hitter in the postseason, Burrell
and the Giants had a game plan that they
worked to perfection.
“Everyone’s familiar with how he did in his last game,” said
Burrell, who went 2 for 3 on the night, including an opposite field
bloop single. “Off a guy like this, we have to make a conscious
effort to tone it down and get good pitches to hit, which isn’t
“So for us to get on the board first was great. You can’t say
enough about that as far as playing in this environment and
quieting the crowd down a little bit.”
A few innings later Burrell kept them quiet with his double, as
the Giants handed the Phillies their
first Game 1 loss in a series since they were swept out by the
Rockies in the 2007 NLDS.
But he’s not about to take things for granted, having seen
firsthand how resilient the two-time defending NL champions and
their boisterous fans can be.
“It was just loud,” he said of the frantic, towel-waving fans.
“But that’s what you expect.
“I’ve certainly seen enough of that while I was here. The home
team fans want their team to win, and it shouldn’t be any other
Leave it to Burrell, then, to spoil the fun. At least for