SAN FRANCISCO -- Aubrey Huff never pulls any verbal punches, including when he's beating up himself.Huff endured a rough night Thursday as the Giants dropped Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, 4-2. His third-inning misplay of Shane Victorino's grounder abetted Philadelphia's three-run rally. Huff also went 0-for-4, stranding four baserunners in his final three at-bats after being robbed of a hit. "It just wasn't my day," Huff said. Huff's bad day began in the first inning, when Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard made a lunging catch of his line drive with runners at the corners and nobody out. Had the ball gone through for a hit, the Giants would have intensified the instant pressure they had applied on Phillies starter Roy Halladay. Instead, the Giants needed Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley to fumble Buster Posey's subsequent dribbler to score a run.
Huff called Howard's catch the game's turning point."Howard made a great play on my ball," Huff said. "We could have cashed in on a big inning. But he made a great play and that kind of sucked the life out of us. That one hurt. "But no doubt the error hurt even more." That occurred two innings later, with Carlos Ruiz at second base, Raul Ibanez on third and one out. Huff played Shane Victorino's grounder off the heel of his glove. The ball caromed past second base as Ibanez and Ruiz raced home. Placido Polanco compounded Huff's gaffe by singling home Victorino. "This is a series where you have to make all the plays. It's probably going to be low-scoring," Huff said. "It was a situation there where I had a slow runner at third. I was going to try to make a play at home and I had plenty of time. In hindsight I should have just taken the out [at first base]." Huff, who led the Giants in the regular season with 26 home runs and 86 RBIs, then grounded out to end the third inning with Andres Torres at first base. He tapped a grounder in front of home plate with runners on the corners and two outs to finish the fifth. And he lined out with Torres again on first base to conclude the seventh. Huff went hitless in three at-bats against Halladay before J.C. Romero retired him in his last at-bat.
"I just didn't get myself in a good situation of getting a pitch to hit," Huff said.Nevertheless, Huff remained upbeat about the Giants' 3-2 series lead, despite the change in scenery to Philadelphia for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7. "If you had told us before the series started that we were going to be in this position, I think we'd all take it," Huff said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.