PHILADELPHIA — It was Grateful Dead Night at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, and local cover band Box of Rain started tuning up during batting practice. Perhaps manager Bruce Bochy was feeling a touch of grey himself as he spoke about the recent departure of fan-favorite Matt Duffy.
“I loved Matt,” said Bochy before the game. “Such a good kid. That’s the crummy part about this time of year. It’s a bad-news-good-news thing.”
Or maybe it was Madison Bumgarner who had been touched. On only his third pitch of the game, Bumgarner gave up a two-run homerun to Aaron Altherr.
In the second, the grey thickening, he allowed four runs on three hits, including a two-run homer by Maikel Franco that handed the Phils an early 6-0 lead.
“I felt good physically,” said Bumgarner afterwards, “but I just didn’t command well tonight. Sometimes, you’re in the bullpen and you feel great, but when you get out there it’s the opposite.”
Despite Bumgarner’s shaky start, the pall lifted for the Giants in the fifth, when the lineup combined for five runs on four hits, capped by Brandon Belt’s 12th homer of the year.
“It was great to see,” said Bochy of the offensive awakening, which tied the game at six.
Angel Pagan’s two-run shot to right field — his seventh of the year — gave the Giants an 8-7 lead going into the bottom of the sixth.
But the Giants weren’t to have the lead for long. After Bumgarner walked pinch-hitter Tyler Featherston, Franco singled up the middle off reliever Hunter Strickland, bringing home Featherston to even the score.
Commenting on the walk, Bumgarner explained, “When your team battles back and gives you the lead, it’s the last thing you want to do.”
Before leaving the game, the Giants’ ace gave up 10 hits (tied for second-most he has allowed in a start) and surrendered eight runs for just the fourth time in his career. He struck out four and walked two.
The newly acquired left-handed reliever Will Smith started the eighth, and, in Bochy’s words, “that’s when things got away from us.”
Cesar Hernandez tagged Smith for a double to right, just beyond the outstretched glove of Hunter Pence. And Smith’s debut was abruptly ended as he was relieved by Sergio Romo.
“I told [Bochy] I was good to go,” said Smith after the game. “I wasn’t lying. I felt ready. It just didn’t go my way tonight.”
Romo didn’t fare any better. After Altherr knocked home two runners on a one-out single, Romo walked Franco, bringing Cameron Rupp to the plate. Rupp hit his 11th homerun of the season, and the Phils took a five-run lead into the ninth, more than enough for the win.
“That’s what wins games for you,” said Bochy following the game. “Your bullpen late. We’ve been doing a good job of it, but it just got away from us tonight.”