Coming off a 4-6 road trip and a split with the Atlanta Braves over the weekend, there didn’t seem to be much hope that the Phillies would fare well against the NL West leading San Francisco Giants. The first two games of the series featured the Giants’ two aces, Madison Bumgarner (2.09 ERA entering game) and Johnny Cueto (2.63 ERA entering game).
Tuesday: Phillies win 13-8
The Phils were on the attack against Madison Bumgarner early and often on Tuesday night. Before fans could get settled in their seats, Aaron Altherr greeted the three-time World Champ with a two-run home run to left field. Altherr’s next plate appearance in the second inning would result in an RBI single. Maikel Franco delivered with what we thought was the big blow of the game – launching a three-run home run to put the Phils up 6-0. However Phillies starter Zach Eflin would relinquish the lead in the fifth inning, with first baseman Brandon Belt “belting” a three-run bomb to tie the game.
The Phils countered with a run in the bottom half of the fifth but then Angel Pagan would strike again in the top of the sixth, giving the Giants a 8-7 lead on a two-run home run. The Phils would not look back from that moment. In the bottom of the sixth, the Phils knotted the game at eight when Maikel Franco delivered with a clutch two-out base hit to score Taylor Featherson. Aaron Altherr once again came through with a two-RBI single up the middle in the eighth to put the Phils ahead. Two batters later, Cameron Rupp stuck the dagger in the Giants’ hearts with a no-doubt-about-it three-home run to right field, closing the scoring at 13-8.
The top three hitters in the Phillies lineup (Hernandez, Altherr, Franco) combined for 11 of the 15 hits. The two, three and four hitters combined for 12 of the 13 RBIs.
Wednesday: Phillies win 5-4
Just hours before the game, the Phillies announced that they placed starter Aaron Nola on the 15-day DL with a sprained right elbow. Phil Klein was called up from Triple-A to make a spot start and he kept the Phils in the game – going five innings while allowing four runs.
With the Phils knocking Madison Bumgarner all over the park, their luck would surely run out against Johnny Cueto, right? Cueto proved us right for 6.1 innings as he was cruising with a 4-0 lead. Ryan Howard, who recorded three hits off Cueto, put the Phils on the board in the seventh with a vintage opposite field home run down the left field line, just staying fair. The next batter, Cameron Rupp, deposited a home run into the bushes in center, cutting the deficit to 4-2. With Cueto still in, the Phils would complete the comeback in the eighth, when Maikel Franco lined a two-run single to right to even the score at four.
The Phils had their chances in the ninth and then in extras. But once again, with the bases loaded in the 12th, Maikel Franco served as the hero, singling to center field for the walk off win. Franco bagged seven RBIs in the two wins.
Thursday: Phillies lose 3-2
The Phils luck would run out Thursday afternoon, when Vincent Velasquez squared off with the Giants newly acquired starter Matt Moore – formerly of the Rays. Velasquez went five innings and allowed two runs. Moore went six, allowing six walks and two earned. The Phils weren’t able to capitalize on Moore’s six walks, going just 1-8 with RISP. The game would head into extras again and Denard Span homered off Severino Gonzalez to give the Giants a 3-2 victory.
After a great showing at home against two of the best pitchers in the National League, the Phils will head out west to San Diego for a weekend series that begins Friday night with Jeremy Hellickson taking on Christian Friedrich at 10:40 EST.