The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the host San Francisco Giants on Saturday night at AT&T Park.
The Phillies received a strong starting pitching performance from Jeremy Hellickson, and caught a bolt of lightning homer from catcher Cameron Rupp, to defeat Madison Bumgarner and the host Giants by a 3-2 score on Saturday night at AT&T Park.
Hellickson (5-6) allowed a single earned run, just five hits, and walked just one batter over his six innings, striking out three along the way, with 56 of his 90 pitches going for strikes.
In doing so, he kept the team in the game against perhaps the biggest Giant of them all. Bumgarner had pitched to just one over the minimum through the first four innings, the only Phils’ base runner coming thanks to an error.
The Giants built an early 2-0 lead for the lefty half of their left-right twin aces, with the Phillies defense helping them out. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 2nd, Tommy Joseph‘s error at 1st base allowed a run to cross the plate for the hosts to open the scoring.
The following inning, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt started the frame with singles off Hellickson, Panik taking third on Belt’s hit. The San Fran 2nd baseman then scampered home on a Buster Posey sac fly, and it was 2-0 for the home team.
That appeared to be all the Bumgarner was going to need on the night, especially against a Phillies’ offense that was doing little all season and which he was dominating.
In the top of the 5th, Maikel Franco put the first chink in his armor, leading off with a clean double down the left field line. When Bumgarner then uncorked a wild pitch, Franco moved over to 3rd base. But the Phillies bats left him stranded there, wasting what is usually one of the few golden opportunities that a club will get against the 2014 NLCS and World Series MVP.
Bumgarner coasted into the top of the 7th with his 2-0 lead intact, when the Phillies finally broke through. Joseph started things off by pulling a line double to left field. He came around to score the first Phils’ run on a one-out Andres Blanco base hit.
With the Giants’ lead having been cut down to 2-1, Rupp stepped up to the plate as the go-ahead run. Go ahead he did, blasting a full count offering that Bumgarner served up over the dead center of the plate well over the center field wall to suddenly and stunningly put the Phillies up 3-2.
“I crushed it, yeah,” Rupp said per MLB.com correspondents. “I don’t know if you do feel it [off the bat]. At that moment, the adrenaline, the time of the game, a big hit against a guy like that, no, I don’t think I really did.”
That was it for Bumgarner (8-4), who allowed three earned runs on five hits over his 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking one. He threw 71 strikes among his 107 total pitches on the night.
The game then became a battle of the bullpens, and neither relief corps blinked. The Phils received yeoman work from Edubray Ramos, David Hernandez, and Jeanmar Gomez, the latter recording his 20th Save of the season, to lock down the victory.
When this series started, the best outcome we probably could have hoped for was to split the first two games. It came to pass, though probably not in the fashion most envisioned as possible.
On Sunday afternoon, the Phillies will try to find a way to somehow beat both of those Giants giant starting pitchers when they square off against the right-handed part of that dynamic duo in Johnny Cueto.