SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants, tied for the MLB lead in victories, have won a few games they probably should have lost. On Saturday night they lost one they probably should have won.
Madison Bumgarner was dominant into the seventh and was given an early two-run lead, but the Phillies ambushed him in the seventh, taking a 3-2 advantage that would hold up. The end came quickly, leaving the Giants to lament missed opportunities early and wonder what might have been had Brandon Crawford’s liner dropped in the eighth.
“We had some chances,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The thing about this game is: It’s baseball.”
This was the ultimate “hey, that’s baseball” game for the Giants, who maintained a seven-game lead in the National League West. Bumgarner didn’t give up a hit until the fifth, but the Phillies got a double, single and long homer in the seventh.
“The pitch to (Tommy) Joseph, I thought was a pretty good pitch,” Bumgarner said. “I know he’s a good fastball hitter but I felt comfortable throwing it there. The (single) up the middle, I should have caught. I don’t know how I missed it. I fell behind to (Cameron) Rupp and you don’t want to put the go-ahead run on base.”
Bumgarner gave Rupp a 3-2 fastball and he blasted it to the net over the center field wall. Joseph had scored already, and Andres Blanco jogged home on the homer. He had reached on the grounder up the middle that went inches under the glove of Bumgarner, who is as good a fielder as any pitcher in the league.
Still, the Giants had a strong chance for yet another come-from-behind win. Joe Panik led off the eighth with a single and went to second on a wild pitch. After Brandon Belt’s long fly to left, Buster Posey drew a walk, putting the go-ahead run on first. Crawford hit a liner to left and Panik took off.
Panik has turned into one of the team’s best baserunners, and earlier, he flew from first to third on a sharp grounder to right, making a perfect read and reaching without a throw. His eighth-inning read cost him.
“In the eighth, you need to be aggressive,” Panik said.
Panik knew the Giants were running out of outs on a night when the offense wasn’t particularly explosive. He saw the angle of the ball as it came off Crawford’s bat and thought for sure that it would be a base hit. Tyler Goeddel made a diving catch and threw to second for the double play as Panik stood near third, stunned.
“The guy made a nice play,” Panik said. “It was a good play by him. Obviously, hindsight is 20-20 … but you’ve got to be aggressive.”
The Giants went down quietly in the ninth, hanging a second straight loss on Bumgarner’s line. This night started with so much promise, with Bumgarner striking out four of the first nine Phillies he faced, all looking.
“It was going pretty good until the seventh,” he said. “That obviously didn’t go as planned.”