PHILADELPHIA – The Giants won five out of seven games on this East Coast trip out of the All-Star break for several reasons, but mostly because the top and middle of their order started hitting.
In a draining four-game series at Citizens Bank Park, though, they were bound to hit a wall sometime.
Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence managed just a single between them – Pence struck out three times – and Cole Hamels struck out 10 as the Giants lost 2-1 Thursday afternoon.
When the Giants signed Michael Morse to play left field, you had to figure his limited defense would cost them at least one game along the way. That day arrived, as his error on a clanked backhand in the fifth inning led to a run.
Both of the runs Tim Hudson allowed in six innings were unearned; the Phillies’ run in the first inning was aided by Posey’s passed ball.
The Giants still took three of four at Philadelphia and take a mostly rested bullpen into a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Starting pitching report
Hudson (8-7) wasn’t able to win consecutive starts for the first time in nearly two months, but he labored hard while holding the Phillies to two unearned runs in six innings.
It was evident from the beginning that Hudson would have to do a fair amount of scrambling. Jimmy Rollins doubled, advanced on Buster Posey’s passed ball and scored on Marlon Byrd’s single to left field in the first inning. Hudson needed luck to escape a crooked number, as the Giants played a mild shift on Grady Sizemore and his line drive happened to be right to shortstop Joaquin Arias for an unassisted double play.
In Hudson’s previous start at Miami, he worked eight innings and never threw more than 15 pitches in any of them. This time, he threw a season-high 114 pitches and only threw fewer than 15 in an inning once – when he needed 14 to get through the sixth.
The Phillies put Hudson in the stretch in all six innings.
It would’ve been a cleaner fifth inning if Morse hadn’t clanked Ben Revere’s fly ball for a two-base error. Hudson recovered to strike out Rollins but Chase Utley followed with an RBI single.
Jean Machi claims he was a 16-year-old shortstop, for a month at least, when the Phillies signed him to his first pro contract. He seems committed to his current career on the mound, though.
Javier Lopez and Machi pitched two scoreless innings, which allowed Jeremy Affeldt to recharge a little more for the Dodgers series this weekend.
At the plate
For once, the Giants couldn’t get a spark from Pence, even though he entered with a 353 average (6 for 17) against Hamels. For the first time as a Giant, a starting pitcher struck out Pence three times.
In fact, the last time it happened, Pence was wearing a Phillies uniform. It was May 16, 2011 vs. Arizona’s Josh Collmenter.
Hamels (5-5) struck out 10 in eight innings and the only run he allowed came in the fifth, when Gregor Blanco singled, advanced on a sacrifice and scored on Ehire Adrianza’s single up the middle.
The Giants loaded the bases in the fourth inning on two singles and a hit batter, but Arias grounded out.
Jonathan Papelbon survived the boos to record his first save of the series after taking a blown save and a loss in the two previous games.
Adrianza appeared to tweak something, perhaps reinjuring his hamstring, while running from first to second base after his hit in the fifth. He remained in the game but exited as part of a double switch in the seventh.
The Phillies announced 33,258 paid. How fortunate were we to be here in Philadelphia smack in the middle of #Hoagiefest?
The Giants return home to begin a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. Tim Lincecum (9-6, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke (11-6, 2.90). First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. PDT. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (5-7, 3.99) against left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-2, 1.92) on Saturday and Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 4.24) against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (11-5, 3.39) on Sunday.