The pressure of trying to compete with zero support from teammates seemed to finally get to Cole Hamels last night, as the Phillies ace and relentless trade speculation target was driven to an early shower by the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
The GMen got to Hamels for 9 earned runs on 12 hits, both career highs for the lefty, and scored 8 times in the bottom of the 4th inning to snap what to that point was a 1-1 battle between aces with Madison Bumgarner. A grand slam off the bat of former Phils teammate Hunter Pence was a punctuating blow in the frame.
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“The moment it left my hands, I knew it wasn’t going to be something good,” Hamels said of Pence’s homer, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft and Oliver Macklin. “With the strength that he has, you know exactly what the writing on the wall was.”
Hamels (5-7) struck out 4 and walked 2 batters, throwing 56 of his 88 pitches for strikes. Jake Diekman came in to put out that 4th inning fire, but the Giants got to the next three Phillies relievers for two runs each. The hosts amassed 22 hits on the night, the most for the team in a 9-inning home game since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958.
Meanwhile, Bumgarner (9-5) was coasting along in efficient fashion. Over 5.2 innings, the NL All-Star allowed 2 earned runs on 8 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2 batters. He threw 69 strikes in 103 pitches in winning this first-ever matchup between former World Series MVP’s.
Hamels was struggling right from the start in this one, allowing singles to the game’s first three batters to load the bases. He was able to minimize the damage by inducing an around-the-horn doubleplay grounder by Buster Posey. However, the play still visibly upset Hamels, as rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco should have thrown home, keeping the run from scoring at all.
The Phillies put their own first two runners on in the top of the 2nd, but Bumgarner retired the bottom three hitters in the Phils order to end that threat. But in the top of the 4th, the Phils would tie it up when Carlos Ruiz drove his 2nd homer of the season out on a line to left center.
“..up and down the lineup, the focus was there and the effort was there. We know that we’re capable of doing big things.” ~ Giants’ 2nd baseman Panik
That led to the big Giants breakout 4th, which came after Hamels had struck out Brandon Crawford to lead off the frame and seemed to be settling into a groove. But the next batter, Brandon Belt, smacked a ground-rule double, Justin Maxwell walked, and then the floodgates opened.
The Giants bled Hamels and the Phillies slowly to death with five consecutive singles, scoring four times to open a 5-1 lead. And then Hamels lost the matchup to Pence in grand fashion, pushing the game out of reach at 9-1. In the bottom of the 5th, Bumgarner grounded his 2nd hit of the game to left, an RBI single that made it 10-1.
In the top of the 6th, Bumgarner appeared to tire, as the Phillies got to him for 4 consecutive hits and a walk, scoring a run to make it a 10-2 game. That was it for the Giants ace, as manager Bruce Bochy then went to his bullpen to finish the game out.
2nd baseman Joe Panik, who our Tyler DiSalle highlighted in a piece prior to the series opening, drove a 2-run homer to right off Jeanmar Gomez in the 7th. The Giants hitters then got to Hector Neris for three hits and a walk, scoring twice more in the bottom of the 8th to complete the rout.
Panik was one of three Giants batters to record four hits on the night, along with Maxwell and Matt Duffy. He was quoted post-game: “That just goes to show, up and down the lineup, the focus was there and the effort was there. We know that we’re capable of doing big things.”
The Giants had been slumping headed into this weekend series, the final one prior to a 4-day break for the MLB All-Star Game and festivities. These Phillies may be just the medicine they needed for whatever was ailing them.