Phillies Blow Opportunity by the Bay

Jun 24, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Denard Span (2), right fielder Gregor Blanco (7), third baseman Conor Gillaspie (21) and teammates high five each other after the end of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park the San Francisco Giants defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 5 to 4. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 24, 2016; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants center fielder Denard Span (2), right fielder Gregor Blanco (7), third baseman Conor Gillaspie (21) and teammates high five each other after the end of the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at AT&T Park the San Francisco Giants defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 5 to 4. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia Phillies dropped the opener of a three game weekend series in San Francisco to the host Giants on Friday night.

The first place San Francisco Giants showed the fading Philadelphia Phillies how a winning team fights and perseveres, battling to a 5-4 victory in a weekend series opener on Friday night at AT&T Park.

The Phillies received an outstanding starting effort from rookie pitcher Zach Eflin, but the Giants rallied against the Phillies bullpen, and then held off a pair of late Phils charges to send their home fans home happy and send Fightins fans to bed in a grumpy mood.

Eflin took a no-decision after tossing six frames over which he allowed just five hits and no earned runs. The 22-year old struck out one batter, walked none, and fired 62 strikes over his 94 total pitches.

However, veteran San Francisco starter Jake Peavy was the opposing pitcher, and despite not being at his former Cy Young Award-winning peak, demonstrated why he has been winning steadily for the Giants for the last six weeks.

Peavy (4-6) lasted seven innings, scattering seven hits while walking two, striking out four, and yielding a pair of earned runs.

Denard Span led off the bottom of the 1st inning by bouncing a tough hopper off the body of Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard that was ruled an error. He would eventually score when the Giants produced a pair of two-out soft singles.

That was all the scoring Eflin would allow on the night. The Phillies bats then got to Peavy for solo runs in both the 4th and 5th innings to take the lead.

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In the 4th, Maikel Franco and Howard ripped back to back one-out doubles to tie the game. Then in the 5th, Freddy Galvis led off with a double, moved to 3rd on a single by Peter Bourjos, and scored on an Odubel Herrera sac fly, which resulted in an epic bat flip from ‘El Torito’ in celebration of the 2-1 lead.

The celebration would carry over for a couple of more innings, until Eflin was pulled for the bullpen in the bottom of the 7th inning.

Manager Pete Mackanin turned to young recent call-up Severino Gonzalez, and the righty yielded a leadoff single. That led Mackanin to reach out for lefty Elvis Araujo, who promptly imploded.

The Giants got to Araujo for three hits and a walk, including a bases-clearing double off the bat of Brandon Belt, who our Mike Azzalina had appropriately called the ‘Opposition Roadblock’ in this series. The total result was a four run outbreak by the home side, and a 5-2 lead.

Related Story: Opposition Roadblock: Brandon Belt

The Phillies tried mightily to come back in the late innings against what I had described in my series preview as a “generally solid, reliable, though unspectacular group” of Giants’ relievers.

With two outs in the top of the 8th and Franco aboard with a triple, Cameron Rupp and pinch-hitter Tyler Goeddel each worked a walk to load the bases.

Galvis singled home Franco, and then Bourjos drew the Phils third walk of the frame to force in Rupp and make it a 5-4 game. However, Andres Blanco left them jammed by bouncing a 3-1 ground out.

In the top of the 9th, the Phillies took one more run at it. With two outs and nobody on, Franco worked a walk, Tommy Joseph singled, and Rupp was hit by a pitch to again load the bases.

Goeddel then tapped a slow grounder at 3rd baseman Ramiro Pena, who fired to 1st, nipping Goeddel by less than a stride. Replay upheld the call, as Goeddel was out by what appeared no more than an inch.

We battled back. We had good at-bats the last couple innings,” Goeddel said per MLB.com correspondents. “We were one hit away from winning the game.

So that was it, the Giants had persevered, winning their fourth straight and 12th in their last 13 games. The Phillies suffered their 14th loss in their last 16 games. And now they get to face Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto in a span of less than 24 hours. Good times.

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