PHILADELPHIA — Jeff Francoeur drove in just four runs in 22 forgettable games for the Giants in 2013. With a two-run double in the seventh he surpassed that total in two games against his former team and handed the Giants a disappointing 6-4 loss.
The Giants quietly felt this was a series they absolutely should have swept given the state of the Phillies -- and the pitching that awaits them in New York -- but the lineup missed several opportunities to add on after a quick start. The Giants went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.
Early on, they jumped on right-hander Sean O’Sullivan. Brandon Belt singled and Brandon Crawford doubled to kickstart a second-inning rally, with Belt scoring on Matt Duffy’s grounder to third.
The Phillies strung three hits together in their half of the second while scoring two runs. Ryan Howard blooped a single to right and Maikel Franco followed with a liner down the left-field line. Cody Asche sliced a low fastball to left to score a pair.
The Giants took the lead in the third when Joe Panik and Angel Pagan hit back-to-back doubles and then Buster Posey and Belt followed with two productive groundouts. Again, however, the Phillies came right back. Odubel Herrera’s solo homer tied it at three.
Goose eggs were exchanged from there, but the Giants nearly took the lead in the top of the seventh when two reached with one out ahead of the heart of the lineup. Ken Giles entered for the Phillies and got Posey to pop up and Belt to fly out to the track in left.
The Phillies would immediately threaten in the bottom of the inning, getting two runners on when Freddy Galvis singled and Darin Ruf popped a would-be sacrifice bunt into no-man’s land behind the mound for a bunt single. Ryan Vogelsong got a double play but then walked Ben Revere. Javier Lopez entered and the Phillies countered by bringing Francoeur off the bench. The big right-handed hitter smoked a ball into the left-field corner, scoring two.
Franco added a mammoth solo shot in the eighth.
Starting pitching report: Vogelsong retired 11 straight after Howard’s one-out double in the third but he couldn’t make it out of the seventh. The Pennsylvania resident was charged with five runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.
Bullpen report: Right-handed hitters were just 3-for-18 with one extra-base hit against Lopez before Francoeur’s double.
At the plate: Panik extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games and then he kept right on going. He finished with three hits, raising his average to .317, which is good for ninth in the National League and second among NL second basemen. Panik has reached base safely in 20 consecutive games.
In the field: Angel Pagan didn’t take the best path to Howard’s liner in the sixth but he made up for it by making a diving catch that kept the inning’s leadoff hitter off the bases.
Attendance: The Phillies announced a crowd of 24,799 and for the second straight day we got a scoreboard proposal. The “yes” was delayed a bit since the woman had to put down a tall can of Miller Light before agreeing to marry the man.
Up next: A day off! (But not for the front office or beat writers… the MLB Draft is held Monday.) Starting Tuesday, the Giants will have the unenviable task of trying to hit Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey at Citi Field. Let’s see if they fare better than they did against top-notch Pirates pitching earlier this week.