Jake Peavy kept reporters around an extra minute after the Giants’ win Friday night so he could compliment the young, struggling Philadelphia Phillies for “the way they played hard all the way to the final out.” The Phillies spent the rest of the weekend proving Peavy right.
Philadelphia beat Madison Bumgarner on Saturday night and tagged Johnny Cueto for a season-high-tying six runs in Sunday’s series finale. Only via Conor Gillaspie’s walk-off double in the ninth inning did the Giants secure an 8-7 victory and win a series in which all three games were decided by one run.
The Giants lead the major leagues with seven walk-off wins.
Bruce Bochy became the fourth manager to win 800 games with the Giants, joining John McGraw (2,583), Dusty Baker (840) and Bill Terry (823). And Bochy said it was “appropriate, I guess, to have it be this type of game, a torturous game. It looked like we had things under control, and then it started getting away from us.”
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4 Giants managers, including Bruce Bochy, who have won at least 800 games
The game turned on one pitch from Cueto that appeared to be delivered with a purpose.
The Giants led 5-1 after three innings against Phillies starter Aaron Nola, who hit three batters, two on wild breaking balls, including Gillaspie with the bases loaded. Cueto had retired 11 straight batters when, with two outs in the fourth inning, he plunked Phillies cleanup hitter Maikel Franco in the ribs with a fastball.
Cueto later said: “There was no intention; it was a pitch that just got away from me.”
But it led plate umpire Doug Eddings to warn both benches, and after that Cueto was not the same. Beginning with Franco, eight of 11 Phillies reached base against Cueto as the Giants saw their four-run lead disappear.
“We got the warning, and it seemed like that threw him out of sync there,” Bochy said. “I certainly didn’t think they were throwing at our guys. Buster (Posey) got hit with a breaking ball, and their kid out there is not trying to hit somebody with the bases loaded. And I don’t think we were. But it did seem to throw him out of sync.”
Cueto said through interpreter Erwin Higueros, “The only thing I can say is that it was the umpire that changed my whole rhythm that I had going.”
After hitting Franco, Cueto walked Cody Asche and allowed consecutive RBI singles before getting out of the fourth. The Phillies scored twice more in the fifth on Asche’s two-out, bases-loaded single, which came after Cueto walked Franco and was visibly displeased at a close 2-2 pitch that Eddings called a ball.
“Yeah, they were strikes,” Cueto said of several close calls. “He gave me those pitches earlier in the game. But after I hit Franco, then his strike zone changed dramatically.”
The Giants retook the lead when Brandon Crawford singled in Angel Pagan in the sixth inning, only to see the Phillies pull even on Odubel Herrera’s home run leading off the seventh. Cueto faced one more hitter, allowing a single to Peter Bourjos, and departed having allowed six runs in a start for the third time this season. It was the first time in 10 starts he allowed more than two earned runs, and it equaled the amount he had given up in his previous seven outings combined.
Pagan’s two-out double off the wall in right-center field in the seventh drove in Gregor Blanco and capped a four-hit day for the left fielder, who scored three runs, drove in two and made a sliding catch on a sinking liner in the sixth.
“What a series he had,” Bochy said of Pagan, who was 8 for 13 over three games.
8 Hits in 13 at-bats by the Giants’ Angel Pagan in the three-game series against Philadelphia
Again, though, the Phillies answered, opening the eighth inning against Josh Osich with an Asche double and a single by Carlos Ruiz to tie the score 7-7. It remained tied until the ninth, when reserve infielder Ramiro Pena, starting for resting Joe Panik at second base, skied a ball down the right-field line that he at first assumed would hook foul.
Pena waited several seconds to run out of the box, so when the ball fell fair, he had a double instead of a triple. Bochy, who also watched Pagan get thrown out going for third in the seventh inning, mused that “we’ll have to talk about that, a couple times we turned triples into doubles.”
Pena’s mistake was minimized when Gillaspie roped Severino Gonzalez’s third pitch to right field for his second career walk-off hit and first since 2013.
“As soon as he hit it, I was like, OK, here we go,” Pena said. “Let’s go home.”