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).