PHILADELPHIA – On the day the Giants placed their most durable rotation presence, Matt Cain, on the disabled list, the last thing they needed was to fight another brushfire in their rotation.
Consider it a controlled burn, then, in a strange 7-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
Ryan Vogelsong allowed a career high 11 hits, he recorded just nine outs and long man Yusmeiro Petit is now former long man Yusmeiro Petit because he’s starting in Cain’s place on Tuesday. In short, this was a game destined to jump the perimeter.
Yet somehow all of those 11 hits were singles, Vogelsong contained the damage the best he could, George Kontos brought the biggest bucket in a lifesaving bullpen brigade and Adam Duvall smacked a two-run home run as the Giants took a lead in the sixth inning that they would keep.
Potential trade candidate Cliff Lee matched his own career high by allowing 12 hits in 5 2/3 innings – not what opposing scouts expected to see in his first start back from the disabled list.
Interestingly, the Giants and Phillies entered the game ranked 11th and 13th, respectively, in batting average (.244 and .237).
Starting pitching report
Vogelsong was not sharp. You can’t claim otherwise when you allow 11 hits and record just nine outs. But the Phillies didn’t exactly batter him, either.
All 11 of their hits were singles, and Vogelsong found a way to strand seven runners over the first three innings. He didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced in the fourth, but shortstop Brandon Crawford let at least one out slip away when he dropped a throw at second base.
The Phillies only drove in runs on two of their 11 hits. Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run single in the second inning. The Phillies’ only other RBI hit off Vogelsong was a check-swing floater into shallow left field off Ryan Howard’s bat for a two-run single that drove Vogelsong from the game in the fourth.
Howard’s hit gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
Kontos (2-0) made an immediate impact upon arriving from Fresno. He inherited runners at the corners with no outs but stranded both of Vogelsong’s runners after called strikeouts of Marlon Byrd and Domonic Brown followed by a fly out from Cody Asche. Kontos pitched around a leadoff hit in a scoreless fifth, too.
Bruce Bochy hoped to keep everyone available by scattering the workload the rest of the way, a strategy that relied on the relievers working clean innings. Javier Lopez, Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt faced the minimum in the sixth, seventh and eighth. Santiago Casilla pitched around a single in the ninth to notch his 14th consecutive scoreless appearance as well as his sixth save.
Sometimes you need to win a game with your bullpen. This was most definitely one of those times.
At the plate
Perhaps the strangest part of the dual hit parade is that the Giants were able to keep up on Vogelsong’s day to pitch. They had scored zero runs of support over Vogelsong’s previous four outings. Their run in the second inning on Gregor Blanco’s RBI single was their first for Vogelsong since June 21.
Michael Morse was thrown out trying to follow Pablo Sandoval to the plate, and an umpire’s replay review to check the catcher collision rule did not result in an overturned call.
The Giants created another chance quickly enough. Vogelsong and Hunter Pence singled, Marco Scutaro sacrificed them over and Buster Posey lined a two-run single to give them a momentary 3-2 lead.
They left the bases loaded in the fourth inning but Duvall stopped the singles streak for both teams in the sixth. Morse led off with a single -- all 21 hits by both teams to that point had been singles – before Duvall got enough backspin to drive Lee’s 1-0 fastball into the foliage beyond the center field wall. Then Joaquin Arias, who entered with a .190 slugging percentage, hit a double for his second extra-base hit of the season. (Like we said, it was a weird game.) Pence followed with an RBI single.
Crawford committed his 14th error on the dropped throw, but he also went deep into the hole and fired to second base to start an impressive 6-4-3 double play behind Machi in the seventh. Ehire Adrianza, who pinch-hit for Scutaro in the sixth, made a solid turn.
Asche might have made the game’s most impressive play, when he dived to his left to take a line drive hit away from Scutaro in the fifth.
The Phillies announced 27,334, and nobody does ballpark proposals like Philadelphia does ballpark proposals. The dashing groom wore a tuxedo T-shirt for the occasion.
The Giants and Phillies continue their four-game series on Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 3.86) starts in place of Matt Cain against Phillies right-hander Roberto Hernandez (4-8, 4.22).