SAN FRANCISCO - At times, it seems as if it would take a cannon to shoot a ball over the rightfield wall at AT & T Park. The power alley is forever, and the brick wall is about two stories high. The only hope is down the line - and even at that, the ball really needs to be hoisted into the night sky.
Jayson Werth's ball was.
"I hit it good, but I've hit a lot of balls good here to rightfield and they've gone nowhere," said Werth, whose ninth-inning home run provided some comforting insurance in the Phillies' 4-2 win over the Giants in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
"So when I saw it heading toward the line, I thought that was probably its best chance. The park gets short over there. So I knew I hit it well. But, again . . . you just never know here."
The home run was the bookend to an earlier big play by Werth: a throw in the fourth inning from rightfield that cut down the Giants' Cody Ross, who was trying to tag up on a fly ball hit by Pablo Sandoval.
The throw and tag by third baseman Placido Polanco had to be near-perfect to get Ross, and they were. It was the first memorably negative moment for Ross, whose hitting in this series will forever earn him an unprintable middle name in the annals of Philadelphia sports.
"I was just catching it and I assumed Cody was going to tag," Werth said. "I caught it and let it fly. The thing I was worried about the most was maybe hitting the runner or [the ball] skipping away, because there's nothing back there behind third base to stop the ball.
"So that was definitely a concern that I've had since we started playing here: that on throws to third, you need to be fairly accurate. You don't want something to skip away. You don't want it to go in the dugout or the camera well there. When I let it fly, it felt pretty good coming out. I waited for the umpire."
The call was out. The Giants' threat was over. And as the night progressed, it seemed clear that the Phillies' dire situation, facing elimination from the series, had no effect on their demeanor.
"The old cliché, one pitch at a time, one game at a time, all that kind of really holds true," Werth said. "We don't get too out over our skis, if you will. We just kind of play in the moment." *