The legend of Buster Posey grows as the Giants build a 3-1 lead in NLCS

San Francisco Giants Buster Posey (R) tags out Philadelphia Phillies Carlos Ruiz at home in the fifth inning of game four of the NLCS at AT&T Park in San Francisco Park on October 20, 2010.  UPI/Terry Schmitt Photo via Newscom

It was Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly that scored Aubrey Huff in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Giants a 6-5 win over the Phillies in Game 4 of the NCLS, as well as a commanding 3-1 series lead.

But while Uribe may have played the role of hero Wednesday night, rookie Buster Posey was the true star.

Posey went 27 at-bats before getting the first postseason RBI of his young career. But he picked up two ribbies in Game 4 while going 4-for-5 at the plate and becoming the fifth rookie in baseball history to record at least four hits and two RBI in a playoff game. His single down the right field line in the bottom of the ninth moved Huff (who had singled to start the inning) over to third to set up Uribe’s sac fly. Without that hit (which came after Posey fell behind Roy Oswalt 0-2 in the count), who knows how that game would have ended.

Perhaps what’s most remarkable is that Posey’s hits came off of a fastball, a curveball, a slider and a changeup, which speaks to his maturity as a hitter. He also made a sensational play at the plate to haul in a short-hop by Aaron Rowand and tag out a sliding Carlos Ruiz to save a run in the 4th inning. The Phillies went on to score four runs that inning anyway, but considering the Giants won by one, that could be viewed as the play of the game.

He’s only 23, but Posey already carries himself like a seasoned veteran. He always stays within himself and he never loses his composure, which must be hard given that he’s the Giants’ best offensive player (not to mention the fact that he also calls balls and strikes for one of the best pitching staffs in baseball).

Thanks to Posey, Uribe, Huff, Pablo Sandoval (who had a huge two-run double in the sixth to give the Giants a 5-4 lead after they had trailed 4-3 heading into the inning) and about nine tons of resiliency, San Fran is now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2002.

Of course, securing that final victory won’t be an easy task. I texted our college football writer Paul Costanzo following the game and asked, “How focused do you think Roy Halladay is going to be tomorrow night? Dear, Lord…”

His response: “He may not throw a ball.”

The Giants will counter with ace Tim Lincecum, but there’s no question that they’re going to see the absolute best that Halladay has to offer. They’ve beaten him twice this year (once in the regular season and once in Game 1 of this series), but to the Giants’ hitters, it may look like he’s throwing marbles out there.

I don’t know how you can call yourself a baseball fan if you don’t tune into Halladay vs. Lincecum Thursday night. This is what October baseball is all about.

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