Williams Struggles Again


6. 6. 40. Final. 5

Phillies starting pitcher Jerome Williams produced the latest in a series of struggling efforts, and the bullpen allowed another late run. It all led to a 6-5 win for the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants in the opener of a weekend series at Citizens Bank Park.

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Williams, who was the Giants 1st round pick in the 1999 MLB Amateur Draft and pitched in San Francisco from 2003-05, has lasted just 5 or fewer innings in 8 of his 13 Phillies starts, with last night’s 4.1 innings matching his season low. He allowed 9 hits, one short of his season high, and 4 earned runs. His ERA rose to an unacceptable 5.68 for the season.

The Phillies actually spotted him an early lead, getting to Giants’ starter Tim Lincecum (6-3), who our own Tyler DiSalle featured in a story earlier today, for 3 runs across the first two frames.

Lincecum walked Ben Revere to leadoff the game, and two outs later Ryan Howard drove his 11th homerun to give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. The Giants got one back right away when Matt Duffy drilled a one out homer off Williams in the top of the 2nd inning to cut the Phils lead in half.

In the bottom of the 2nd, the base on balls again bit Lincecum. He walked Cameron Rupp with two outs, and then Williams helped himself by lining an opposite field RBI double to open his lead up to 3-1.

Williams took that lead into the top of the 4th, and actually recorded the first two outs, before the Giants again got to him with the longball. Duffy first singled to right, and then it was Justin Maxwell lifting a homerun deep to left-center field, tying the ball game at 3-3.

The Giants then took their first lead in the top of the 5th. After 2 of the first 3 batters reached on singles off Williams, the righty was lifted for reliever Elvis Araujo. After recording the 2nd out of the inning, Araujo yielded an RBI single to Brandon Crawford to put the Giants on top 4-3.

In the bottom of the 6th, rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco tried to again play the hero. The exciting Dominican got to Lincecum and drove his 5th homer in 83 plate appearances. His blast got the Phillies even at 4-4, and was his 3rd game-tying blast in the last 4 games.

Luis Garcia came on to pitch for the Phillies, got the first two outs in the top of the 7th, and once again it was the gopher ball that did the Phils in when Buster Posey drove a solo homerun just over the wall in dead center field. The Giants again were on top, 5-4, and this time they would not yield the lead.

The Phillies got two runners aboard in the bottom of the 7th, but a TOOTBLAN (thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop) by Revere ended the threat. Jeff Francoeur drove a ball deep to right that was caught for the 2nd out. Revere had tug up from first and advanced to 2nd base, slightly rounding the bag as the ball was caught. As he hustled back to 1st base, he missed re-touching 2nd, and was called out when the Giants challenged.

In the bottom of the 8th, Chase Utley led off with a walk against Giants reliever Javier Lopez. But Lopez, who dominated Howard during the 2010 NLCS, got The Big Piece to roll into a doubleplay to end that chance. The Phils then went weakly 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th against closer Santiago Casilla, who registered his 16th Save for the Giants.

The two teams will continue the series on Saturday afternoon at 3:05pm in what appears on the surface to be a mismatch. The Giants send World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner (6-2) out against Phillies rookie Severino Gonzalez (2-1), as the home side tries to find some way out of a slide that has seen them lose 12 of their last 16 games.