Giants bullpen disap­points Friday night fans


AT&T PARK — The Giants’ season has been a rocky ride. Their play at AT&T Park has been bipolar, starting the season 22-9  at home before limping through the last 31 games at a dismal 8-23.

San Francisco looked primed to start a home comeback after a convincing win Wednesday, but a relentless Phillies offense wouldn’t let up and the Giants fell 5-3 in extra innings.

Madison Bumgarner, who has lugged around a 4-6  record and 5.60 ERA at AT&T, made a comeback of his own at home despite the team’s losing effort.

Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay

In his seven-inning outing, Bumgarner tossed nine strikeouts and chiseled his ERA down to 3.14. He was perfect through the first three, going 1-2-3 in the first and striking out five before consecutive blooper singles from Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins in the fourth ruined the party.

Bumgarner also managed to keep the Phillies off the board, with the exception of a fifth-inning solo home run from Marlon Byrd.

The Giants drew first blood in the fourth. After Buster Posey hit a leadoff single and Pablo Sandoval knocked a ground-rule double to center, Morse slammed a home run over the left field fence to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. The home run, Morse’s 16th, ended Cole Hamels‘ five-game streak of pitching seven or more innings without allowing more than one run.

Manager Bruce Bochy was impressed with Morse’s performance:

“We got a big hit there, the three-run home run. We haven’t seen a lot of those, especially here at home. It was a nice cushion, good at bats by Morse tonight. We did some good things through seven innings and it just got away from us.”

The game slipped after Bumgarner left the game.

Bochy brought in relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt in hopes of ending the game at 3-1. But the Phillies charged again in the eighth. Darin Ruf hit a single off Sandoval’s glove and Cody Asche followed with a towering home run, the first Affeldt allowed this season, off a miss-placed fastball into Levi’s Landing to tie the game 3-3.

The possibility of a win seemed a plausible feat, but the offense continued to hit an ever-present wall. Sandoval’s leadoff single and Gregor Blanco‘s sacrifice bunt off Phillies reliever Ken Giles showed signs of a go-ahead eighth inning.

Joe Panik hit a single to right that could have been the RBI San Francisco needed, but to no avail. Sandoval was gunned down by a perfect throw home from Marlon Byrd. Bochy said of the play:

“Pablo’s not a speed guy and the ball was smoked, he ended up making a perfect throw and, hey, you move on after that.”

The eighth inning fiasco wasn’t the only time the offense came up short. The team sang a familiar disheartened tune, Bochy said:

“(We) had our chances..that’s what caught up with us. (Runners) on first and third, we end up bunting into an out, on that safety squeeze and didn’t execute. We just couldn’t get another run in….We got a leadoff double and couldn’t get him in. These little things caught up with us…they tied the game and it got away from us.”

The Phillies struck again off Santiago Casilla (L, 1-3, 1.66 ERA)  in the 10th inning to seal the comeback win. Asche hit a leadoff double, and pinch hitter Andres Blanco bunted to bring Asche to third.

Jimmy Rollins walked to load the bases and an inside pitch from reliever Javier Lopez skimmed Chase Utley‘s knee to walk Asche home. A sacrifice fly from Ryan Howard brought Blanco home to give the Phillies the definitive 5-3 win.

Bumgarner echoed the team’s frustration with their inconsistencies:

“You know what, we’re definitely running out of time to say keep saying we’ll keep grinding them out and get ‘em tomorrow but we’re not out of time yet so that’s what we’re going to have to do. All we have to do is get hot and finish strong.”

The Giants still have a chance at an AT&T comeback this weekend. They play the Phillies on Saturday and Sunday before hitting the road again.

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