Asche's two-run shot tied the game in the eighth following the departure of Madison Bumgarner
The Phillies didn't exactly impress in the early goings of Friday's series-opening game against the San Fransisco Giants, but behind a solid start from Cole Hamels and a clutch offensive performance from Cody Asche, they managed to eek out a win in extra innings to end their three game losing streak.
It was a matchup of two aces in Madison Bumgarner and Hamels, and both starters were looking sharp to start the game. Bumgarner retired the first ten Phillies straight, and struck out six in the first four innings. Hamels was a little more hittable than his Giants counterpart but was efficient in avoiding trouble until the bottom of the fourth. Pablo Sandoval hit a ground rule double to right after a single by Buster Posey, and both scored on Mike Morse's three-run homer to left.
Marlon Byrd lined a solo shot to left over the head of Morse to cut the defecit to 3-1 in the fifth. Darin Ruf doubled to right one out later, but was stranded after Hamels struck out to end the inning. Bumgarner settled down at this point, retiring the final six batters he faced in order. He departed after allowing four hits and one run in seven innings with no walks and nine strikeouts.
Ruf led off with an infield single off reliever Jeremy Affeldt, and Asche capitalized with his eighth homer of the year, a two-run jack that tied the game. Ken Giles relieved Hamels to start the bottom of the inning, and escaped a jam when Marlon Byrd threw out Pablo Sandoval, who was going home on a single by Joe Panik, at the plate with time to spare to end the inning. The Phillies got runners on second and third against Affeldt in the ninth, but couldn't make anything of it as Ruf grounded out to end the inning. Giles (2-0) retired the side in order to send the game into extras.
Asche stepped up big with a leadoff double off Santiago Castilla (1-3) to start the tenth inning and slid into third on a close play, barely avoiding the glove of third baseman Sandoval on a bunt by Andres Blanco. Jimmy Rollins walked to load the bases with one out, and Asche scored when Santiago Casilla's pitch to Chase Utley skimmed his pantleg just above his knee, forcing in the winning run. Ryan Howard tacked on an insurance run with a hard hit ball to the wall in left, scoring Blanco to make it 5-3. Jonathan Papelbon then came on to close things out in the bottom of the inning, and retired the Giants on three straight groundball outs to cap off the win.
Darin Ruf: 2-4, 2 R
Cody Asche: 2-4, 2 R, HR (8), 2 RBI
Cole Hamels: 7 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K (100 Pitches, 71 Strikes)
Honestly, the Phillies were a bit lucky to win this one, as they really didn't have an answer for Bumgarner over the lefty's seven strong innings and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. They also caught a few breaks on defense as the Giants made some mistakes on the basepaths that could have helped to pad their lead and avoid extras all together. Angel Pagan was caught in a rundown in the seventh, and Gregor Blanco was tagged out trying to score from third on a bunt. Howard, in addition to striking out three times, also misplayed two balls on defense. His throw on Pagan's groundout to first, on which he had plenty of time to throw, went wide of the bag at second, allowing Bumgarner to advance safely. He also dropped a playable foul popup on the first base side. Regardless, it's always good to get a win, particularly after this week's tough losses to the Angels.
The teams play again tomorrow with Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.88 ERA) taking the mound for the Phillies. The Phillies won Kendrick's last start, even though he allowed ten hits and five runs over five innings. The Giants will counter with veteran Tim Hudson (8-9, 2.81), who has had a strong season for San Fransisco. He allowed three runs over six innings in a 5-0 loss to Kansas City in his last start. Tomorrow's game starts at 4:05.