The Hunter Pence streaks are over. Since the Phillies brought up their new right fielder from AAAA Houston, he's hit in every game, and they've won 'em all. Ten straight proved too much though, as the Giants blocked a sweep with a 3-1 win on Sunday afternoon.
Roy Oswalt's return to the rotation wasn't terrible, but he allowed 12 hits and three runs in just six innings. Tim Lincecum, pitching out of the stretch for all but a four-pitch walk to Jimmy Rollins to lead off the game, got plenty comfortable soon after and shut down the Phils offense all day. Lincecum allowed seven hits on the day, but just one run, which probably could have been prevented with better defense behind him.
Overall, there's not too much to dissect in this one. Lincecum's a great pitcher with good numbers against the Phillies, and he beat them in a start where the Giants could only manage three runs off of Oswalt in his first MLB start since June. Knowing what we do about the pitchers and lineups in this matchup, if you were to predict an outcome and storyline today, this one would be fairly likely.
Oswalt had decent velocity and no apparent relapses of an injury that a lot of people worried might hasten the end of his career. While he's not in ace form yet, he managed to get out of some jams and strand most of the small army of baserunners he allowed.
The Giants won, but if I were in their dugout, I'd be more worried that they couldn't get more than three runs off of Oswalt today than I am about the Phillies not getting to a two-time Cy Young winner. Although, yes, it would have been encouraging to see the paddles come out on Mitch Kramer, whom they may see in a series opener come October.
Gallery: Plays of the Game
Loved seeing Carlos Ruiz go full extension after fielding a Lincecum bunt to apply a barehand tag to Aubrey Huff's neck. Brilliant shots by Jason O. Watson of US Presswire here:
Chase Utley joined Chooch in having a pair of hits, one of which came right after he accidentally threw the bat toward the mound on a foul ball. The bat hit Lincecum in the leg, and after the two exchanged sportsmanlike guttural utterances mere mortal ears can't hear, Uts snapped a single to right. Unfortunately, Linc and Javier Lopez were able to retire the side to end the eighth, and the Phils were once again shut down by Brian ::vomit:: Wilson.
Up next, a trip to LA.