By Sam Bush
The Phillies’ glorious past caught up with their woeful present Friday night in San Francisco.
Hunter Pence, whom the Phillies decided couldn’t cut it in Philly, smoked a grand slam off Phillies ace Cole Hamels as the Giants broke out of their offensive doldrums in a 15-2 victory.
The Giants completed traded for Pence at the 2012 mid-season deadline in exchange for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, Double-A catcher Tommy Joseph and Class A pitcher Seth Rosin.
The Phillies, fresh off back-to-back shutout losses and owners of an 11-35 road record, were just what the Giants needed.
The Giants matched their previous five games of offensive production in a single frame, using an eight-run fourth inning to cement the win. The victory is just San Francisco’s second in its past 10 games.
Major offensive contributions came from multiple sources, including Justin Maxwell, who came up a home run short of the cycle. He settled for a 4-for-4 outing with two doubles and a triple, leaving the long-ball duties to Joe Panik — who also had a four-hit night — and Pence.
Panik’s blast to right field, while impressive, was relatively inconsequential. It came in the seventh inning, giving the Giants a 13-2 lead.
Pence’s, however, was the early nail in the coffin. In just his third game back from an extended disabled list stay, he gave the Giants a 9-1 lead with his fourth-inning grand slam, the fourth of his career.
The grand slam came during a run of eight consecutive Giants batters reaching base, which capped a disastrous outing from Hamels. He allowed nine runs on 12 hits, and his season ERA skyrocketed from 3.02 to 3.63.
Countering Hamels in what was once billed as a pitching duel, Madison Bumgarner was far from his sharpest. But he gave his team more than it needed to preserve the early lead, exiting to a standing ovation in the sixth inning having given up two runs on eight hits.
“I don’t think he was quite as sharp as we’re used to,” Bochy said. “We just had a pretty good cushion there, and I didn’t want to overwork him. If there’s any time I can save some bullets with him, I’m gonna do it.”
Bumgarner twice gave himself a lift from the batter’s box, singling midway through the fourth-inning rally and earning an RBI in the next frame to finish 2-for-3, raising his average to .256.
It was a low-stress evening throughout for last year’s World Series MVP, who played mind games with Philly third baseman Maikel Franco by refusing to run into a tag on a grounder. Franco refused to approach and tag Bumgarner, eventually giving up and retreating to tag third for the force out.
The 41,895 in attendance at AT&T Park watched a team bearing little resemblance to the Giants of the past nine games. Everything came together for San Francisco, including a career performance from third baseman Matt Duffy, who tallied his first four-hit game and added an impressive diving play at third base.
Angel Pagan was the fourth Giants player to record three or more hits, and his bases-loaded single in the fourth inning opened the floodgates. Pagan had been slumping before Friday, but his strategy for building momentum was simple.
“Go back to the gym and work out,” he said. “Get ready for the next day.”