Giant ninth not enough to overcome Phillie seven-run sixth

Denard Span snapped the Saturday night crowd awake when he launched a drive into the right field bricks. The ball spun and kicked off right fielder Rhys Hoskin‘s foot:

“I saw (third base coach) Phil (Nevin) waving with a lot of energy and I was like ‘Alright here we go, got to turn on the jets and make it him.”

Span crossed the plate, slide not necessary.

The inside the park home run was the first Span has hit since Little League, and the first from a Giant to lead off the game since Johnny Rucker did it in 1945. Span even tacked a two-run single to his historic moment to give the Giants a nice little two-run lead the following inning.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

San Francisco put five runs on the board in the bottom of the ninth inning, in a rally ignited by a handful of subs. Carlos Moncrief, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker loaded the bases for Pablo Sandoval, who knocked a two-run RBI single then dared Cameron Rupp to throw him out at second on a passed ball, forcing a throw wild enough to score Parker and send the Sandoval to third. Orlando Calixte singled and Ryder Jones tripled to tack the final pair of runs on the board. Some 1,000 fans left at AT&T Park and Bruce Bochy were loving it:

“You love that, when guys are battling. It was fun to watch. Energy in the dugout and with the fans was great. It was just too big a hill to climb.”

Yeah. Five Giants tallied RBIs, nine runs in total scored. Still, San Francisco lost, 12-9, to the Philadelphia Phillies Saturday night.

What beat nine runs? A three-run homer, a misplay in center field, a grand slam. That’ll do it.

The three-run homer came off rookie Hoskin’s bat. He took a Ty Blach‘s 2-0 fastball deep to left field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the third.

After the Giants tied things back up, Span pushed his high-note into a low one. Rupp launched a fly ball that looked headed for the center field wall, at least, that’s where Span sprinted. As he turned he threw his arms up as it fell a few feet in front of him for a double:

“I just lost the ball in the twilight. I saw the ball go up, went back on it really good and then as soon as it got to its highest point I couldn’t see where it was. I didn’t know until it bounced in front of me.”

Blach, already tip-toeing on the end of a topsy-turvy outing, couldn’t recover from the misplay. He surrendered the lead and, loss in hand, the game to the bullpen.

The Giants’ ‘pen is the owner of a fifth-best 3.49 ERA in August, so it was due for a patent collapse. That’s the way this sixth inning was going, after all.

Josh Osich could only get one out, while allowing a pair of runs. He loaded the bases for Cory Gearrin, who promptly surrendered a grand slam to pinch-hitter Ty Kelly. It was the 16th time the ‘pen let the opposing hitter go deep this month — only the Miami Marlins have allowed fewer.

While it’s been uncommon for the bullpen to allow a boatload of runs this month, the crew’s inability to limit the damage was on brand. It’s something Bochy’s called attention to often this year; it’s squandered many a win, too:

“That’s been an issue, is coming in and stopping things. That hasn’t been our strength.”

Blach took the blame on his shoulders:

“I should be able to go out there and get the next guy out. That’s on me.”

And the blowout ultimately did fall on Blach, who’s streak of games in which he’d gone at least six innings snapped at eight. Blach said after the game he hasn’t felt as sharp in his last two starts, a fact one might be able to deduce given the fact he’s allowed 12 runs in that time.

Albert Suarez smoothed things over for his bullpen, striking out seven of the 11 batters he faced. Rupp added a home run off him, though.

There was no escaping the Phillies’ wrath, but, at least the Giants made clear they weren’t letting this series go. Said Bochy:

“We made them sweat a little bit, and we’re hoping we can take that into tomorrow.”

Up next

The Giants will try to take the series with Madison Bumgarner on the mound facing Ben Lively. Hunter Pence will get the day off, Bochy said, and Buster Posey left the game a few innings early to get some rest for the day game. The plan is that he will catch Bumgarner.

 


Shayna Rubin is SFBay’s San Francisco Giants beat writer. Follow @SFBay and @ShaynaRubin on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of Giants baseball.