There weren't a ton of offensive fireworks in San Francisco in the series opener on Thursday night, but what little there were started the game off right for the Phillies, and Cliff Lee took care of the rest. Hunter Pence homered for the first time in a Phillies uniform (and soon after showed off a new dugout handshake), and John Mayberry Jr did the same in the next at bat. Pence would later single in an unnecessary insurance run in the ninth, rewarding his growing fanbase for staying up late back on the east coast by giving the Phils a 3-0 lead they'd leave the field with.
Lee outdueled Madison Bumgarner on a night when both pitchers had some great stuff. He got into a jam in the eighth, but pitched his way out of it without letting up a run, then came out in the ninth to cap his fifth complete game shutout of the season. T-Mac pointed out that it was the first time a Phillie racked up five shutouts in a season since Steve Carlton in 1982.
As Enrico pointed out in the Handshake post, Pence has given us something to talk about in every one of his Phillies appearances so far. Personality points aside, he has also hit safely in every game, including three hits on Thursday night. Shane Victorino, batting third with Chase Utley getting a rare night off, had two singles of his own.
The game was thankfully fast-paced and didn't keep us up all night, and
more importantly, didn't send us to bed thinking about another loss to
the Giants. Is there a team you enjoy seeing the Phillies beat more than
those guys right now? Hopefully they can keep their win streak (now at
seven games) alive tomorrow night with the Vanimal facing Jonathan
- Props all around to the defense. Some very solid baseball plays kept runners off the bags at key times for Lee.
- Pence's homer was his 12th of the season, Mayberry's his 8th.
- With his 0-3 night, Cliff's average has fallen to .216. When's he going to get his act together at the plate?!
- I guess we'll let him slide since he pitched a shutout and K'd eight Giants.
- No one ever talks about how hard it can be to be a bat boy. Just look at this.
- Not a great night for Ryan Howard at the dish, with the Piece striking out twice and going 0-fer. At least he brought the leather to 1B though, coming up with some notable picks and a sliding grab.
- Could be worse though, Cody Ross struck out four times and even chucked his bat on a third strike swinging. Seeing Lee stand him straight up on a called third strike to end the game may even have topped the bat toss...
- With Ryan Madson on paternity leave (congrats on the birth of a baby boy, Tyler), Brad Lidge was up in the Phillies bullpen in the ninth, though he wasn't needed despite the Giants getting a man on board.
- The Phils moved to 72-39, 8.5 games up on the idle Braves in the East. The third place Mets are 16.5 back. On August 5. The Arizona Diamondbacks were idle on Thursday, so they still sit at a half-game behind the Giants out west.
Photos by US Presswire.