PHILADELPHIA – Like it or not, Thursday’s game between the Giants and Phillies was seen exclusively on Facebook Watch, the sixth broadcast in the package of weekday afternoon games produced by MLB Network.
“I’m not on Facebook,” manager Bruce Bochy told reporters before the game, “but I am the Twitter King.”
Informed that his in-game interview with Scott Braun would reach people in Pakistan, Bochy drily responded, “Some of my friends are in Pakistan. I got some hellos to say.”
You didn’t have to be from Karachi to know that the Giants are in a bad way, losing 6-3 to Philadelphia in their fourth-straight defeat, marking the first time they’ve been swept in a four-game series by the Phillies since 1999.
“That’s a good club over there,” said Bochy. “They pitched well, they fielded well, they did everything well. We ran into a hot team.”
The crowd at Citizens Bank Park was the biggest and most vocal of the series, consisting in large part of raucous, field-tripping schoolchildren, their “Let’s Go Phillies” chants cycling endlessly from the stands.
The Giants got on the board in the first when Gregor Blanco cranked a solo home run off Phillies righty Vince Velasquez, the fifth lead-off home run of his career. One inning later, Alen Hanson got into the act with a two-run homer to right that put the Giants up three.
Following that early-inning surge, the lineup only managed two hits.
“We couldn’t get anything going after those three runs,” said Bochy. “We just never threatened.”
Coming off a game in Atlanta in which he lasted a season-high 7 2/3 innings, Giants’ starter Ty Blach failed to make it out of the fifth. He pitched well through the first three innings, but a lead-off walk to Aaron Altherr in the bottom of the fourth shifted momentum to the Phillies.
“A lead-off walk is unacceptable with a three-run lead,” said Blach. “You can’t do it. I tried to get too fine with some pitches, and got behind. You give a team like that an opportunity and they’re going to take advantage.”
Center fielder Odubel Herrera doubled to the corner in right, putting two men in scoring position for clean-up hitter Rhys Hoskins, whose single over the head of Brandon Crawford plated Altherr. Carlos Santana then homered on a 1-0 fastball from Blach, giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. It was the ninth long ball that Giants’ pitchers had allowed in the series.
“He threw a lot of pitches in that inning,” Bochy said of his starter. “Before that, I thought he had a pretty good fastball, breaking ball, changeup. He just started getting it up a bit.”
The Phillies added two more runs on a pair of timely singles from Hererra, who has now reached base safely in 39 straight games, which is the longest active streak in baseball. With those runs as insurance, Philadelphia’s bullpen made short work of the Giants’ tepid bats. Though sobering to say, San Francisco scored just eight runs in the series and struck out 54 times.