AT&T PARK — In the bottom half of the seventh inning, the TV camera caught Mark Melancon in an unfamiliar position.
After working a scoreless top half of the frame, Melancon, who is gradually easing his way back to the ninth after a spell on the disabled list, was pacing around the dugout, apparently unsure of what to do.
“That’s a pretty nice luxury to have your closer helping out there in the seventh in a one-run ballgame against a tough part of the lineup,” manager Bruce Bochy said after the 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
Hunter Strickland proceeded to lock down the eighth, before Sam Dyson emerged to secure his 10th save.
“It went like clockwork,” Bochy added.
Thanks to the bullpen shutdown, and a booming double from Jarrett Parker, the Giants put an end to their National League East futility, at least for a night.
Owning a 7-21 record against the division heading into the game, the hosts claimed a 2-0 lead in the third inning that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Hunter Pence and Buster Posey struck run-scoring singles in the third before Parker created some separation , slamming a 406-foot, two-run double to center field in the fifth.
“We got the early runs there and had some good at bats,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Parker [had a] big day. Pence on base, what? Three times. Posey on base three times. You get guys on base, that’s a good sign and we held on.”
Brandon Crawford supplied a fifth run, lining an RBI single to left later in the inning.
Entering the night with a 8.67 ERA in 10 career outings against the Phillies, Jeff Samardzija finally appeared poised to deliver a strong showing against the NL East outfit.
After blanking the Phillies across the opening four frames, Samardzija served up a solo home run to Cameron Rupp in the fifth. An inning later, Nick Williams blasted a 431-foot home run to center field, igniting a three-run sixth.
Courtesy an impressive double play started by a diving Kelby Tomlinson, Samardzija would escape that threat, ending his evening with a final line of four earned runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings.
“He can play anywhere in the infield — short[stop], second, third,” Bochy said of Tomlinson. “And he’s invaluable to us with his versatility.”
After Samardzija’s exit, Melancon, Strickland and Dyson took care of business..
“They climbed back in it to make it a ballgame,” Bochy admitted. “But our last three guys threw the ball very well.”
Belt making strides
Brandon Belt, out since Aug. 5 with a concussion, is set to begin cardio on Friday.
Bochy said the team isn’t thinking about shutting the first baseman down — even though he’s sustained four known concussions — but will make sure he’s 100 percent healthy before returning.
Fellow infielder Joe Panik, who hit the concussion list on Aug. 15, will be evaluated by team doctors on Friday.
Cueto slated for second pen
Johnny Cueto, who hasn’t pitched since July 14 due to blisters and a mild flexor strain, will throw a 35-40 pitch bullpen on Friday. That session could be followed by a rehab outing, depending on how Cueto fares.
Rookie Miguel Gomez (right knee inflammation) was originally on track to begin a rehab assignment on Friday. Instead, the 24-year-old is dealing with a setback, which has left him in a “holding pattern,” according to Bochy.