For four innings, Madison Bumgarner had a no-hitter in sight. Though that prospect dissolved, a shutout seemed possible, or at least a Giants victory.
However, all of this ultimately eluded Bumgarner as Cameron Rupp's two-run homer capped a three-run seventh inning Saturday for the Philadelphia Phillies, who prevailed, 3-2. The Giants (48-28) missed a chance to pass the Chicago Cubs as the Major Leagues' winningest team.
"I crushed it, yeah," Rupp said. "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."
San Francisco clung to a 2-0 lead when Tommy Joseph, a former Giants prospect, lashed a leadoff double in Philadelphia's seventh. He scored on Andres Blanco's single up the middle. Up came Rupp, who ripped a full-count fastball over the center-field barrier and onto the canopy covering the organic vegetable garden. It ended Bumgarner's streak of 12 consecutive starts in which he yielded two or fewer runs.
Falling behind 3-0 on the count to Rupp made a difference, Bumgarner pointed out.
"I don't want to put the lead run on base," he said. "I just have to go after him and he got us."
Regarding the fateful fastball that Rupp hit, Bumgarner said, "I thought it was a pretty good pitch. I know he's a good fastball hitter, but I felt confident throwing it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hellickson matches Bumgarner: Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson needed a big night, and he delivered. He allowed five hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk and struck out three in six innings. He would have pitched longer, except he tweaked his back swinging at a pitch in the sixth inning.
"I don't know why I'm trying to swing so hard," Hellickson said. "You can't even see it out of that guy's hand. But it's fine."
Slip-slidin' away: Bumgarner typically is a pitcher who helps himself by executing all facets of the game. But he appeared to squander his chance at snaring Blanco's seventh-inning grounder, resulting in a key single that set up Rupp's round-tripper. Bumgarner was in position to field the ball, which simply darted past his glove and into center field.
"I don't know how I missed it," Bumgarner said. "I felt like I had it the whole way. That may change the game."
Ramos shows his stuff: The Phillies needed a shutdown inning after scoring three runs against Bumgarner in the seventh, and they chose rookie right-hander Edubray Ramos for the job. He delivered. He needed just 10 pitches to retire the side, using a fastball that hit 96 mph and a sharp breaking ball.
"That guy has got fire coming out of his hand," Rupp said.
Missed chances: The Giants' formula for getting the most out of whatever offense they can generate didn't work this time. They needed Joseph's fielding error to open the scoring in the second inning. San Francisco finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
The Giants' hopes rose when Brandon Crawford sliced a low line drive to left field with runners at first and second and one out in the eighth inning. Joe Panik, occupying second base, raced for third but was easily doubled off after Tyler Goeddel caught the ball.
"[Panik] had his mind made up that ball was going to drop and it didn't," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "... He misread it and the outfielder made a nice play."
QUOTABLE "It was huge. You could tell they wanted to beat this team because they're such a good team and because the guy that was pitching is such a good pitcher. It showed me a lot because it makes you a competitor. You know we've got a bunch of competitors there." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on beating Bumgarner
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez led the National League in saves at one point. He picked up his 20th save of the season with a perfect ninth. It was his first save since June 7.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Nola hopes to reverse his recent fortunes in Sunday afternoon's series finale against the Giants at AT&T Park. Nola had a 2.65 ERA through his first 12 starts before posting a 15.83 ERA in his last three. Mackanin plans to have Carlos Ruiz catch Nola for the first time in his career, hoping his game-calling prowess gives Nola a bump.
Giants: Right-hander Johnny Cueto will put his career-best eight-decision winning streak on the line in Sunday's series finale against Philadelphia at AT&T Park beginning at 1:05 p.m. PT. Cueto's streak is the longest by a Giants pitcher since Matt Cain also had an eight-gamer from May 1-June 18, 2012.