Saturday, June 25, 2016

Giants rally for best 40-game stretch since '54

The Giants are riding their best 40-game stretch in 62 years. The Phillies have lost 10 of their last 11. Though the clubs appear to be heading in opposite directions, they crossed paths in extremely entertaining fashion Friday night at AT&T Park.
San Francisco seemed to seal another victory with a four-run outburst in the seventh inning, which featured Brandon Belt's three-run double. But the Phillies scored twice in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs before the Giants finally emerged with a 5-4 triumph.
The game ended with a replay review confirming that Giants third baseman Ramiro Penathrew out Tyler Goeddel at first base on an exceedingly close play.
"Exciting game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That game had just about everything. You look at Belt's hit and go, 'That won the game for us.' But those guys came back. Pena made a great play there to save us."
Ultimately, the National League West-leading Giants recorded their 12th victory in their last 13 games and improved to 31-9 in their past 40 games -- their best 40-game span since going 33-7 in 1954 as the New York Giants.
Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin, making his third Major League start, muted the Giants for six innings and bequeathed a 2-1 lead to Philadelphia's bullpen. The Giants quickly roused themselves in the seventh, as Trevor Brown and pinch-hitter Buster Posey singled. Following Denard Span's sacrifice bunt, Joe Panik walked to load the bases. Belt bashed an 0-1 pitch to right-center field, scoring all three baserunners. Angel Pagan's second RBI single of the game delivered Belt, putting the Giants on top, 5-2.
Philadelphia made it a 5-4 game with two runs in the eighth inning, as Freddy Galvis rapped an RBI single and Peter Bourjos drew a bases-loaded walk, but San Francisco's bullpen held the lead to secure a win for Jake Peavy (4-6), who surrendered two runs and seven hits in seven innings.
"We battled back. We had good at-bats the last couple innings," Goeddel said. "We were one hit away from winning the game."
Gearrin slips a gear: Cory Gearrin perhaps has been the Giants' best reliever lately, allowing one run in 14 innings covering a 15-game span. Gearrin proved fallible in the eighth inning on Friday, however, allowing two inherited runners to score. But he retired pinch-hitterAndres Blanco to end the threat with San Francisco still leading by one.
Bochy said Casilla, who has recorded saves in each of the last three days, will get a rest Saturday. So will Gearrin, who also has relieved three days in a row.
Eflin flips the script: Eflin, who is the Phillies' No. 13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, took a step forward in a no-decision, allowing one unearned run in six innings. That run scored in the first on an infield hit by Pagan, and Eflin allowed just three hits the rest of the way. After allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings in his big league debut June 14 in Toronto, Eflin has a 1.54 ERA (two earned runs in 11 2/3 innings) in two starts since.
"I'm learning from every outing," Eflin said, "making sure I fine-tune everything to make sure I'm able to put the best outing on the table." More >
Peavy wants to win: Peavy recorded a third-inning play that reflected his unquenchable competitive spirit. Peter Bourjos hit a grounder up the middle that Peavy managed to kick to himself in the middle of his follow-through. He pounced on the ball in time to throw out the swift Bourjos.
"That's vintage Jake, doing all he can to win a ballgame," Bochy said.
Phillies' bullpen battered: The Phillies' bullpen had been pretty solid through the end of May, but the unit has struggled since. Severino Gonzalez and Elvis Araujo combined to allow four runs in the seventh inning on Friday as the Giants took a 5-2 lead. Philadelphia relievers have a 6.16 ERA since May 29.
"I didn't think he'd use Posey in the seventh. I didn't think he'd use two guys for one move in the seventh." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, expressing surprise that Bochy called on Posey to face Phillies lefty Araujo after just calling Jarrett Parker to the plate as a pinch-hitter
"They've got a lot of good, young talent. ... I respect the way they went about it. They played awfully hard down to the last out. The ol' Fightin' Phils. They've got a young bunch coming." -- Peavy, praising the Phillies' performance
Phillies: Jeremy Hellickson (4-6, 4.41 ERA) faces the Giants in the second game of this three-game series on Saturday night at AT&T Park. The right-hander has struggled lately, although after allowing three runs in the first inning last week against the D-backs, he pitched six scoreless innings.
Giants: Madison Bumgarner (8-3, 1.85 ERA) will attempt to burnish his All-Star credentials in Saturday night's 7:05 PT matchup against the Phillies. He's 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA in seven career starts vs. Philadelphia.

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