SAN FRANCISCO — A team hitting .407 in any sort of situation would be a huge positive. When you’re doing it with the bases loaded … well, you’re going to compile quite a few wins.
The Giants have 48 of them overall and 12 in their last 13 games after a big rally in the seventh inning Friday against the Phillies. Brandon Belt crushed a bases-clearing double that turned a deficit into a two-run lead the Giants would barely hold. The hottest team in baseball won 5-4 on the first night back from a 6-1 road trip.
The late outburst came after six innings of quality pitching from both sides. A few hours after his manager gave a half-dozen health updates in his pre-game media session, Angel Pagan showed that his oft-injured legs are 100 percent. Pagan came up with runners on the corners and two down in the first and beat out a slow roller to short, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.
The Phillies ran into a couple of outs early, but they tied the game in the fourth on back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard. An Odubel Herrera sacrifice fly made it 2-1 Phillies after the top of the fifth.
Facing 22-year-old Zach Eflin for the first time, the Giants had little success. Eflin, who was traded over by the Dodgers in the Jimmy Rollins deal, gave up just five hits and the one unearned run in six innings of what was the best of his three big league starts.
The Giants caught a couple breaks in jumping on the Phillies bullpen. Trevor Brown reached on an infield single to lead off the seventh and pinch-hitter Buster Posey followed with a liner to center. Herrera went all out and nearly made a diving catch that would have turned into a double play with Brown running. It ticked off his glove, though, and Belt’s double swung the balance two batters later. Pagan added an RBI single.
The young Phillies battled back, scoring two runs off three Giants relievers in the top of the eighth and getting the tying run to third in the ninth. But they couldn't claw all the way back.
Starting pitching report: Peavy gave up seven hits and two earned in his seven innings. He has a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts.
Bullpen report: Tommy Joseph, who was traded for Hunter Pence, pinch-hit in the eighth. Josh Osich struck him out on three pitches. After a walk and a wild pitch that took a count to 2-1, Bruce Bochy pulled Osich mid-plate appearance in favor of Cory Gearrin, who threw two balls. The walk was charged to Osich.
At the plate: That .407 average with the bags juiced is easily the best in the league. The Reds entered the night in second, at .341.
In the field: Brown had a big night defensively. The backup catcher caught Freddy Galvis leaning too far in the second inning and made a strong snap throw to first for the inning-ending out. An inning later, Brown threw a seed down to second to catch Herrera on a stolen base attempt. Since Bochy will never let Belt pitch, Brown might now top the “It’d be cool to see that guy on the mound in a blowout” rankings.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 42,238 human beings. Phillies fans no longer travel well.
Up next: Madison Bumgarner faces the team with the lowest batting average in the league. So …