With Barry Zito hoping to continue his recent success Sunday, the NL West-leading Giants try to complete that sweep with a fifth consecutive victory over the Phillies, who look to avoid their longest home skid in 40 seasons.
All-Stars Buster Posey and Melky Cabrera each homered and Gregor Blanco drove in the tiebreaking run with a drag bunt in the 10th inning to give San Francisco (53-41) a 6-5 win over Philadelphia on Saturday.
Looking to complete their first sweep at Philadelphia since Aug. 13-15, 2004, the Giants have averaged 5.5 runs while winning seven of eight since the break to build a 2 1/2-game division lead over Los Angeles.
The Phillies' seven-game home skid is the longest of the same duration since a 2004 slide that included that sweep at the hands of the Giants. An NL-worst 17-29 at home, Philadelphia (41-54) has not dropped eight in a row there since a 10-game losing streak May 16-June 6, 1972.
It appeared the Phillies had a good chance to end that skid Saturday when Ryan Howard 's three-run homer in the sixth gave them a 5-4 lead. However, Cabrera tied it with a solo shot in the eighth.
Cabrera has batted .382 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in his last 20 games. He's 7 for 18 (.389) during the Giants' four-game winning streak against the Phillies this season.
Posey, who matched a career high with four hits Saturday, is 11 for 20 versus Philadelphia in 2012.
Zito (8-6, 3.75 ERA) is 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA since he posted a 10.67 ERA while dropping three straight starts from June 8-19. The left-hander allowed three hits over seven innings in a 9-0 win at Atlanta on Tuesday.
It was the fourth time this season Zito did not yield a run, equaling the number of times he accomplished that over the previous two seasons.
"He's tough. I mean mentally tough," manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants' official website. "He's done a great job for us."
Zito is 3-3 with a 4.75 ERA in six starts against the Phillies, but has allowed 10 runs over 12 innings while losing his last two at Citizens Bank Park.
Howard is 1 for 8 with a double against Zito, but has homered in each of the first two games of this series after hitting one in his first eight games of the season.
Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.79) takes the mound looking to help the Phillies avoid the sweep. The right-hander was very good in a 3-2 road win over the Dodgers on Monday, allowing two runs and six hits over eight innings with seven strikeouts and no walks."Keeping the ball down was a big difference," said Blanton, who had dropped his previous two starts. "Lately I've had a little bit of trouble doing that as consistently as I did (Monday). I try to throw as many strikes as I can and expand the zone a little bit when I get ahead in the count."
He gave up four runs and 11 hits in five innings of a 4-2 loss at San Francisco on April 17 to fall to 2-4 with a 5.07 ERA in nine regular season and playoff starts against the Giants.
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee sprain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|June 14, 2012||Aubrey Huff||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|June 07, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right hamstring|
|July 09, 2012||Raul Valdes||15-Day DL||Strained right hip|
|June 25, 2012||Brian Schneider||15-Day DL||Sprained right ankle - out 3-5 weeks|
|June 07, 2012||Freddy Galvis||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|June 05, 2012||Placido Polanco||Day-to-Day||Left game - left index finger laceration|
|June 02, 2012||Jose Contreras||60-Day DL||Torn UCL, right elbow - out for season|
|May 28, 2012||Roy Halladay||15-Day DL||Right latissimus dorsi strain|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jimmy Rollins got the opportunity he wanted and delivered.
Rollins hit an RBI single to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants in 12 innings Sunday.
John Mayberry Jr. hit two solo homers for the last-place Phillies, and Nate Schierholtz hit a pair of solo shots for the NL West-leading Giants.
The Phillies snapped a seven-game home losing streak and avoided their first sweep against the Giants since 2004.
Brad Penny (0-1) walked Carlos Ruiz with one out in the 12th. Laynce Nix followed with a single to right to move Ruiz to third. Rollins then lined the first pitch to right to end it.
"I always look forward to it," Rollins said about clutch situations. "I've faced Brad Penny a lot. I had an idea what he wanted to do. That's not a role he's used to."
The five-time defending NL East champions are 10 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the wild-card standings. But they're not looking ahead to next year just yet.
"We have the horses now, we're getting back to full strength and the pitchers have been doing a good job," Rollins said.
Kyle Kendrick (4-8) tossed 2 1-3 innings to earn the win and extended his career-best scoreless streak to 18 2-3 innings.
Phillies starter Joe Blanton gave up three runs and seven hits in eight innings, increasing his trade value with another strong second-half start. Since 2008, Blanton has the best record in the majors after the All-Star break at 17-5.
The right-hander will be a free agent after the season, so the Phillies might move him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline unless they start to make a run.
"Everybody here is trying to win games and play the best we can," Blanton said. "Anything that happens is out of our control."
San Francisco's Barry Zito allowed three runs and five hits, striking out seven in seven innings. Zito is having his best season for the Giants since signing a $126 million, seven-year contract in December 2006.
"I like how he's throwing the ball," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
After Mayberry gave the Phillies their first lead, 3-2, on his second homer in the seventh, Schierholtz answered with his second in the eighth. He hit a high drive to right to tie it at 3.
Blanton escaped further trouble in the inning when right fielder Hunter Pence saved two runs by making a running basket catch on Buster Posey 's deep fly to right.
Mayberry drove a 3-2 pitch into the seats in left to tie it at 2 in the fourth. He hadn't driven in a run in his previous 39 at-bats, going back to June 24.
"At times, when he hits the ball, he's good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Pablo Sandoval 's RBI double to left-center gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Schierholtz ripped a 2-0 pitch way out to right for his first career leadoff homer to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Chase Utley 's RBI triple in the bottom half tied it at 1. Zito escaped a first-and-third, one-out jam by getting Pence to ground into his 13th double play.
Zito stranded runners on second and third in the third by striking out Ryan Howard on a 74 mph curveball.
NOTES: Blanton has allowed 22 homers, second-most in the majors. ... Zito allowed his 12th earned run in the first inning in 19 starts. ... Melky Cabrera extended his hitting streak to nine games with a first-inning double. ... Schierholtz has five homers this season, including two multihomer games. ... Nix came off the disabled list after missing more than two months with a left calf strain. OF Jason Pridie was designated for assignment. He went 3 for 10 with a homer in a brief stay. ... Mayberry has hit all eight of his homers since May 11. ... The Phillies had their 267th consecutive sellout, including postseason games. ... Roy Halladay (4-5, 3.96 ERA) makes his second start since returning from the disabled list when the Phillies open a three-game series against Milwaukee on Monday night. ... Ryan Vogelsong (7-4, 3.21) pitches for the Giants in the opener of a three-game series against San Diego on Monday.