The Phillie Phanatic tormented San Francisco Giants outfielder Hunter Pence before Wednesday night’s game and Pence continued to torment his former team with a bases-clearing, 3 RBI double in the top of the 9th inning.
With the game tied 0-0 in the ninth inning, Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon was given the ball. He was one strike away from pitching a scoreless inning and giving his team a chance to win in walk-off fashion. It appeared strike three had been thrown, but Pence held off at the plate. He fouled off one more pitch before putting a ball in play down the right-field line and giving the Giants a 3-0 lead.
Except for the 9th inning, offense was scarce as starters for both teams completed eight innings in a pitcher’s duel. A.J. Burnett (6-9) and Madison Bumgarner (12-7) gave their bullpens rest after a 14-inning game on Tuesday. Both pitchers even stayed in the game after a 59-minute rain delay in the 4th inning.
It could be the last start for Burnett as a Phillie. He struck out six in a no-decision and allowed only four hits. With scouts watching, it’s safe to say Burnett upped his trade value with his strong start.
Papelbon, however, may have decreased his trade value. The Phillies only allowed 5 hits and one was Pence’s double. To load the bases, he walked two (one intentionally) and hit Michael Morse. He blew a save Tuesday night, but pitched two full innings. He doesn’t think his stock has dropped despite his past two outings.
“If you were to put the entire season into two games, it would be pretty dumb,” Papelbon said.
With the trade deadline approaching it could also be the last time Papelbon pitches for the Phillies.
Carlos Ruiz went 2-for-4 with a double in his first game off the disabled list.