Rewind: Phillies at Giants, Game #2

The second game of the second half of the season was anything but relaxing and enjoyable, and it moved in the same slow pace of mid-summer days. Three and a half hours, twenty-eight hits and twenty runs between the teams, and no chance for the Giants to pick up ground in the NL West race.

Giants pitchers surrendered fourteen runs to the Phillies, matching their highest total for runs allowed on the season. Noah Lowry started the game in control, retiring the side on eleven pitches. Pitch efficiency was not seen in this game, as Lowry threw 84 labored pitches through 3.2 innings, and Giants pitchers combined to throw over 200 pitches.

 The top of the Phillies lineup did most of the damage, as to be expected. Scoring remained consistent throughout the game, as is the case when big leads are built. Just about everyone in the visiting lineup chipped in, but the names that fuel this lineup took the stage on the national television broadcast.

Former Bellarmine Prep star Pat Burrell led off the second inning with a home run and finished the day 5 for 6; two singles, two doubles, and a walk to go with his home run. Jimmy Rollins, the Encinal High school alum, singled, tripled and scored twice in seven at bats in the game. Chase Utley routinely kills the Giants, so his two hits can be seen as merciful compared to what he has done to the team in the past. Bobby Abreu is arguably the scariest man the Phillies have, and Giants pitchers treated him as such. He had two walks and a base hit, but scored anyway courtesy of the men hitting behind him.

Then there’s Ryan Howard. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year is a legitimate Most Valuable Player candidate already. He hit a pitch from Brad Hennessey so far into right centerfield the distance estimates don’t do it justice. His 30th home run of the season and 75 RBI rank among the best in the league, and it leads to questions of why this team has such a poor record.

Perhaps they saved it all for the Giants, on a day where pitching was ripe for failure. Lowry’s line was his worst to date, and Brad Hennessey faltered in the long relief role. Hennessey has been outstanding out of the bullpen for the Giants, but Saturday the Phillies got to him to extend their lead. Brian Wilson threw an inning and a third and gave up a run, and Kevin Correia fared almost as poorly as Lowry. Not one of the arms the Giants threw out there could keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.

The frustration extended to the Giants hitters. They generated threats all afternoon but failed to carry them out. Moises Alou gave the Giants the early lead with his eleventh home run of the year. Philadelphia starter Cory Lidle pitched a sloppy game: eight hits and five runs allowed over 5.2 innings, and his teammates didn’t help by committing two errors.

The score remained close until the fifth inning, when the Phillies kept pushing across and the Giants couldn’t produce runs from the mistakes and bad pitches offered to them. Pedro Feliz came up a home run short of the cycle, and if it weren’t for the ball he crushed to left that skipped off the top of the wall, maybe he’d be a double short of the cycle, and maybe the Giants would have had one more run to their credit for this game.

Todd Linden killed a rally when he tried to take second base on a hit he crushed to left field. Feliz easily scored from third ahead of him. The run counted on Linden’s single but the throw from left field beat Linden to the bag. It’s good to see Linden back with the big club and playing aggressive ball, but his choice to go to second on the two-out hit cost the team a chance to fight back.

It could be just another one of those weird games. David Bell made two excellent diving plays at third to kill scoring threats for the Giants. Barry Bonds stole another base, his second in two games, and the beleaguered slugger made the Barry shift work for him when he dropped a single into left beyond the reach of the infielders drifted to the right side of the field. Home plate umpire Rob Drake squeezed the pitchers throughout the game.

When nothing seems to go right for one team, as it goes in laughers like Saturday’s game, it goes right for the other team. Teams are entering the tough stretch of the season where luck dictates results as much as talent or ability. The NL West is wide open. For the Giants to seize the big prize, they must first grab the little chances dangled before them. That translates to wins against poor teams like Philadelphia, or at least, not embarrassing 14-6 losses against teams like Philadelphia.

SFDugout.com’s Player of the Game: Moises Alou produces at the plate despite suffering injuries to his ankle and back. Even if they lead briefly, it was Alou’s home run that made that difference for the team. His presence in the lineup goes beyond his offensive threat—three home runs, eight hits and a .474 average against Lidle alone. It seems to restore an order to the team when he’s healthy and hitting.

Notes: Rollins’ seventh inning triple was the 1000th hit of his career…more hitting milestone news; Omar Vizquel is three hits away from 2400…Lowry has lost five of his last five starts…Bonds stole a base in consecutive games for the first time since June 21-22, 2003, at Oakland and against the Los Angeles Dodgers.



Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 24th season of fandom. Love/hate mail can be sent to seasond_salt@yahoo.com, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.

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