AT&T PARK — With the Phillies’ infield drawn in to prevent additional first-inning damage, third baseman Pablo Sandoval punched a first-pitch curveball through the right side.
The hit gave the Giants a three-run lead against starter Zach Eflin after just 10 pitches, the start of an easy 10-2 victory on Friday night.
Center fielder Denard Span led off the first inning with a single. Right fielder Hunter Pence sliced a double to right-center field. Jarrett Parker drove his teammates in with a double down the left field line. And with one out, Sandoval grounded a pitch well below the strike zone through the right side to score the third run of the opening frame.
“[That] lets your pitcher get settled in because it takes off [the pressure],” Bochy said. “There’s no question early runs are a good thing for everybody.”
Entering the contest, San Francisco was outscored by a total of 27 runs in first innings this season – tied for its worst differential in any frame. But the Giants teed off against Eflin early on.
In the second, Pence blasted a home run to left-center field. Pence went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He’s hit five home runs in his past 18 games.
Crawford added a two-run home run against Eflin in the third, giving the Giants a 6-0 lead.
After starter Matt Moore struck out nine batters across seven innings in his previous outing, he delivered another gem on Friday. He allowed just one hit and no runs in his first seven innings against the Phillies.
While he surrendered a single and a double in the eighth – forcing manager Bruce Bochy to go to the bullpen – the performance marked another step forward for a pitcher who has sported an ERA above 5.00 most of the season.
“Really nice game tonight,” Bochy said. “It’s good to see him with back-to-back good starts.”
Moore attributed his recent uptick to an improved change up. He’s discussed gripping the pitch with fellow left-handed starters Madison Bumgarner and Ty Blach, and he said those conversations have led to subtle adjustments such as an alteration in the finger pressure he applies to the ball.
On Friday, Moore left the field with runners on first and second and one out. He received a standing ovation as he walked off.
“I definitely noticed it,” Moore said. “One of the coolest parts about playing here is just how loud it can get and the appreciation [from fans].”
Reliever Cody Gearrin allowed both inherited runs to score on a single from shortstop Freddy Galvis. But Josh Osich struck out center fielder Nick Williams, and Hunter Strickland induced an inning-ending fly out to keep Philadelphia from cutting further into San Francisco’s advantage.
The Giants rebuilt their lead in the bottom of the eighth.
Kelby Tomlinson hit an RBI single. A throwing error from second baseman Cesar Hernandez plated two more. A single from Span scored the fourth run of the inning.
It added up to an eight-run victory for a team searching for silver linings over the final month and a half of the campaign.
“That’s our goal to finish strong,” Bochy said. “Whether that’s an individual player like Matt or as a club, we just want to play better ball