SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 7: Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants, hit with the bat thrown by Chase Utley of the Philadelphia Phillies, hands it back to him in the eighth inning during an MLB baseball game at AT&T Park August 7, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The Giants won the game 3-1. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Phillies 1, Giants 3: Can't Win Em All

"Hey sorry I threw this bat you." said Chase. "No problem bro." responded Tim.

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Phillies 1, Giants 3: Can't Win Em All

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – Tim Lincecum turned in a typical shutdown performance when the Giants needed it, as San Francisco salvaged its four-game series against Philadelphia with a 3-1 victory, snapping the Phillies’ nine- game winning streak in the process.

A 1-8 stretch put the Giants on the precipice of losing their place atop the National League West standings, but Lincecum (10-9) held Philadelphia to one run over 7 2/3 innings to keep the reigning World Series champions in front of the Arizona Diamondbacks by a half-game.

The Giants’ usually listless offense produced 13 hits, four coming from Jeff Keppinger, who also drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

Roy Oswalt (4-7), coming off a six-week stint on the disabled list, yielded a career-high-tying 12 hits, though he managed to limit the Giants to three runs in six innings of work.

The rematch of last year’s NL Championship Series went the way of the visitors the first three games of the set, which included a clearing of the benches in the second meeting when Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez plunked Shane Victorino.

The repercussions for those involved in the fracas has yet to be determined, but Lincecum showed the Giants still had some fight left on Sunday.

Holding a 3-1 lead in the eighth, the two-time Cy Young Award winner shook off a wayward bat to the right knee when Chase Utley lost his grip and flung it towards the mound. Utley singled later in the at-bat, the seventh base hit Lincecum allowed, and Hunter Pence reached on an Aubrey Huff error with two outs.

Javier Lopez came in from the bullpen to face Raul Ibanez, whose fly ball to the warning track in left was tracked down by Aaron Rowand.

Brian Wilson worked around a one-out bloop double in the ninth to record his 34th save of the season.

This was the seventh time Oswalt and his younger doppelganger squared off, and the former scored the game’s first run in the third, leading off the frame with a dribbler up the middle and coming around on Utley’s two-out base hit to right-center.

The Giants had baserunners in each of the first three innings, but didn’t score until the fourth when they loaded the bases with one out. Struggling at the plate, Chris Stewart attempted a squeeze bunt that narrowly went foul, which proved to be a break for San Fran when Stewart lined an RBI single to center.

San Francisco again loaded the bases in the fifth and managed one run on Orlando Cabrera’s sacrifice fly, and Keppinger plated Stewart with a fly ball to right an inning later.

Every starting position player for the Giants had at least one hit…San Francisco came into the game 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the series and went 4-for-13 in those situations Sunday…The last away four-game sweep by the Phils vs. the Giants came August 6-8, 1943 at the Polo Grounds in New York…Pence went hitless for the first time in a Phillies uniform (nine games)…The Giants next host the struggling Pirates for three games, while the Phillies head down to Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers.


Phillies 2, Giants 1: Hamels Outduels Cain

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – A day later, cooler heads prevailed between the Giants and Phillies, but Philadelphia’s pitching remained red-hot.

Cole Hamels went the distance and the Phillies used two first-inning runs on the way to a 2-1 victory, expanding their season-best winning streak to nine games.

The teams were playing less than 24 hours after an ugly incident in the sixth inning Friday, when Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino was hit by a Ramon Ramirez pitch in the back, sparking a benches-clearing shoving match and resulting in three ejections.

Hamels (13-6) provided the Phillies with yet another great mound effort, as the lefty came within one out of his first shutout of the season. That was prevented by Pablo Sandoval’s home run. Orlando Cabrera grounded the next pitch to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who fired to Ryan Howard to end the game.

Hunter Pence, who has at least one hit in all eight games since being acquired from Houston, had an RBI single.

Matt Cain (9-8) was the hard-luck loser, allowing three hits and fanning eight over eight innings, as San Francisco lost for the eighth time in nine games to drop into a virtual tie with Arizona atop the NL West. The Diamondbacks host the Dodgers tonight.

The Hamels-Cain matchup was a redux from Game 3 of last year’s NLCS as well as July 27 this year with the Giants righty winning both of those encounters. But on this sunny day by the bay, Hamels was awesome by throwing 83 of his 114 pitches for strikes and not allowing a runner to advance past second base until Sandoval’s blast to left field. At one point, Hamels threw 23 straight first-pitch strikes.

“I think that’s something that we always stress is to get ahead of the hitter and to get the first-pitch strike,” Hamels said. “When you’re able to do that, you get a lot of quick outs. That’s the key to pitch deep in the ball game and keep them off-balance. That’s what I was able to do.”

The pitching for the NL East leaders has been spectacular in this series. Cliff Lee tossed a shutout in the opener on Thursday, and Friday Vance Worley threw seven strong innings.

Roy Oswalt gets his shot on Sunday when he returns from a six-week stint on the disabled list due to lower back inflammation. With a victory on Sunday the Phillies would complete their first four-game sweep in San Francisco and first against the Giants since May 13-16, 1982 at Veterans Stadium. The last away four-game sweep by the Phils vs. the Giants came August 6-8, 1943 at the Polo Grounds in New York.

The defending World Series champions haven’t helped themselves in this series, going 0-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

“You don’t expect to score a lot when you face the Phillies staff, they’re really good,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “As far as the hitting, you keep working because you have to. That’s baseball.”

Rollins doubled to right leading off the game and Chase Utley drew a one-out walk. With two down, Pence singled to right and Utley made it to third when Sandoval failed to catch the bouncing throw. Utley then scored when Eli Whiteside, one of the participants in Friday’s fracas, couldn’t handle a Cain pitch.

Hamels got Sandoval to hit into an inning-ending double play in the fourth, a frame the Giants started with consecutive singles from Aaron Rowand and Jeff Keppinger.

Whiteside and pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz singled with two down in the eighth, but Rowand popped out in the infield.

The Phils have outscored their opponents, 54-24 during this winning streak, which is their longest since last year’s 11-game run, September 12-24…The Phillies have won a season-best seven straight series on the road. Their last such series loss was, June 17-19 at Seattle…Cain is 1-4 in seven career regular season starts vs. Philadelphia…Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco left in the eighth inning due to left hip soreness…Hamels has allowed two earned runs or less in 13 of his last 14 starts. He was 0-2 with a 5.30 ERA over his previous three appearances against the Giants. His 13 wins eclipses his total from last year. Hamels’ career-best for wins is 15, set in 2007…Giants reliever Sergio Romo set down the last two batters in the eighth. He’s retired 31 straight batters…Hamels logged his second complete game of the year and ninth of his career.


Phillies 9, Giants 2: Benches Clear As Phils Rout

San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) – The Phillies and Giants are developing quite a rivalry as two of the National League’s top teams.

Too bad it sometimes turns ugly.

John Mayberry, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino all homered and Vance Worley threw seven strong innings Friday night to lead the Phillies over the Giants, 9-2, in a game that was marred by a benches-clearing incident in the sixth inning.

While no apparent punches were thrown, the teams came together in a spat after Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez hit Victorino with a pitch — seemingly on purpose — in the lower back.

They also emptied their benches in Game 6 of last year’s National League Championship Series soon after Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez plunked Chase Utley.

Sanchez started this one as well, but was outdueled by Worley (8-1), who allowed two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts to remain unbeaten in his last nine outings.

The Phillies won their season-high eighth straight game with a 13-hit barrage, picking mostly on Sanchez (4-6) in his first start since June 24.

Gone long before the benches cleared, the San Francisco starter, who had been sidelined with left biceps tendinitis, took the loss after giving up five runs on seven hits and just 4 2/3 innings.

The Giants remained a half-game ahead of Arizona for first place in the NL West, but they are barely clinging to the lead. They fell to 1-7 in their last eight games and 1-4 on a 10-game homestand.

Victorino stepped toward the mound after he was hit by a first-pitch fastball and Ramirez tossed his glove down, sparking the melee that ended with both players being ejected, along with Giants catcher Eli Whiteside.

The teams, including both bullpens, gathered in front of the mound in a scrum while Victorino was being held back by home plate umpire Mike Muchlinski.

Before that, Whiteside, who homered in the game, had rushed out in between Victorino and Ramirez, then turned and wrapped up Placido Polanco by the legs as he rushed in from first base.

The Phillies were leading 8-2 at the time after Brian Schneider hit an RBI single and Jimmy Rollins added a two-run base hit. Pence tacked on a run with a long homer to lead off the seventh inning — his second in as many nights.

The MLB-leading Phillies won the opener of this four-game series 3-0 on Thursday night behind Cliff Lee’s fifth shutout of the season and Pence’s first homer in a Philadelphia uniform.

Scoreless the night before, the Giants plated a run in the first inning of this one on Pablo Sandoval’s sacrifice fly.

But the Phillies put together a four-run rally in the fourth inning that was keyed by a solo homer from Victorino and a two-run blast by Mayberry. They chased Sanchez in the fifth when Polanco knocked Rollins in with a single to make it 5-1.

Whiteside led off the fifth with his fourth homer of the season.

Mayberry started at first base for Ryan Howard, who pinch-ran for Victorino after he was ejected and remained in the game…The Phillies are 7-0 since acquiring Pence from Houston last week. They lead the majors with a 73-39 record and are 5-0 on a 10-game road trip…Worley is 6-0 in his last nine starts…Sanchez is winless in his last five starts (0-3).

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