For a ballpark typically favored by pitchers, the bats were cracking loudly as the Phillies and Giants put on a raucous show Friday night at Oracle Park.
The San Francisco offense, resurrected Thursday after spending the first week of August missing in action, made itself known. But Tony Watson (L, 2-1, 3.60 ERA) suffered a rare bad outing in the seventh when Bryce Harper and the Phillies (60-56) tagged him for four runs. The Giants (57-60) went quietly after that in a 9-6 defeat.
Tyler Beede (ND, 3-6, 5.61 ERA) could not contain the Phillies.
Some days, Beede has been absolutely dominant and looked like he’s finally unlocked something. Others, he appears not long for the majors.
Bruce Bochy and the Giants don’t ever know if they’ll get Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde with him, and Friday they got both.
Philadelphia hitters were at a loss as to what to do with him three of five innings. Beede’s changeup bit sharply, and when the Phillies weren’t waving at that they were late on his fastball. He tied a career-high with seven strikeouts.
He said he felt he executed well with his off-speed pitches, but he still wasn’t happy with the outing overall.
“I’ve been feeling like I’ve made a
couplebetter adjustments, but I’m still making too many mistakes throughout the course of the game. I hate losing more than I love winning, so I just got to be better. That’s what it comes down to.”
After cruising right through the first two innings, he suddenly lost focus in the third. Most egregiously he issued one-out walks to opposing pitcher Drew Smyly and Harper to hand the Phils a rally for free and set the stage for damage. Bochy said that was a back-breaker:
“I thought Beede came out of the chute throwing the ball so well. He struck out the first five out of eight but of course walking the pitcher with one out and back-to-back walks set up their big inning.”
But the San Francisco bats were steadily adding on against Smyly (ND, 2-6, 6.96 ERA) despite Beede. The Giants got on the board first on a second-inning solo homer from Kevin Pillar (14), who is now tied with Pablo Sandoval for the team lead in home runs. Joey Rickard then took the opportunity to make his first knock in a Giants uniform a majestic 472-foot jack (3) to lead off the third.
They tacked a third run on in the fourth when Buster Posey led off with a walk and Stephen Vogt moved him to third on a double.
It would be Beede who would allow the first of Harper’s two impressive homers. At 113.2-mph off the bat in the fifth, Harper sent a first-pitch changeup out over the plate on a 420-foot ride, a prelude to something much more damaging to come. Of the homer Beede said:
“Whether it’s Harper or anybody else you gotta execute pitches. If you make a mistake right down the middle, he’ll make you pay for it like he did a
coupletimes tonight. He’s a talented hitter.”
The Giants put up their biggest crooked number in the sixth when Posey reached first on a Jean Segura error up the middle and Vogt followed by launching a bomb into McCovey Cove for a two-run splash hit, the 79th such ball hit by a Giant into the water in Oracle Park history.
Said Bochy of the long ball:
“Sure it’s a big park, but the ball is flying this year and if you hit it well, it’s going to go. If you make mistakes with good hitters there’s a good chance it gonna leave the park if they get it in the air.”
Two batters later Rickard drew a two-out walk and that was it for Smyly.
Pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett followed with a single facing José Álvarez (W, 3-2, 2.93 ERA), then Donovan Solano dropped a bloop into left-center field to put the Giants up 6-5, ahead for the first time since Beede gave up the lead in the third.
San Francisco couldn’t hold on, though.
Watson came out to pitch the seventh, and having allowed just 14 runs in 45 innings all season, he coughed up three within just three batters. He gave up a leadoff, first-pitch single to Adam Haseley, then walked pinch-hitter Sean Rodríguez to bring up Harper.
Watson left an 86-mph slider over the heart of the plate to the superstar and Harper struck, launching it 456 feet into McCovey Cove with an exit-velocity of 113.8-mph. The usually stellar reliever said he was missing the command he’s used to having on the mound Friday:
“I just threw a mixer up there and he put it in the Cove. I gotta get Rodriguez out there, [because] you know that Harper is right behind him. That was a terrible pitch and [Harper] crushed it.”
It was the first time both the Giants and their opponent swatted splash hits in the same game since May 12, 2014, when Tyler Colvin, an outfielder who played in just 57 games for the Giants that year, launched a second-inning bomb into the Cove and Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman returned the favor by swatting a ninth-inning pitch from Javier Lopez into the water over the right-field wall in a botched attempt at a comeback in the Giants 4-2 victory over the Braves.
Coincidentally, that was also the same year Harper hit his last Splash Hit, in game-four of the National League Division Series with the Nationals.
When Watson walked Hoskins and allowed a Dickerson single, Bochy had seen enough and hooked him for Jandel Gustave.
Entering Friday’s contest Watson had a 2.80 ERA with a 1.089 WHIP and a 5.67 strikeout to walk ratio with an average leverage index of 1.65. He said it was just an off night for him and he doesn’t plan on dwelling on it:
“There’s gonna be ups and downs when you’re a high-leverage reliever and you’re in a leverage situation. There’s going to be nights like this, and then tomorrow you could be the hero, so I’m not going to get too caught up in this. It’s frustrating for sure, especially when Vogter hits a big home run there for us…but I’m not gonna ride the rollercoaster, it’s never a good recipe.”
Gustave allowed one inherited runner to score and it was 9-6 before San Francisco finally got off the field.
Giants bats failed to put anything together against the Philadelphia bullpen and the series stands: Giants 1, Harper 1.