SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Andrew Suarez repeatedly pumped his first pitch in for strikes against the Phillies, setting the tone in the Giants' 2-0 win Saturday.An improved curveball that Suarez used to get out of a couple of jams helped, too.Suarez pitched seven scoreless innings, Andrew McCutchen drove in two
SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Andrew Suarez repeatedly pumped his first pitch in for strikes against the Phillies, setting the tone in the Giants' 2-0 win Saturday.
An improved curveball that Suarez used to get out of a couple of jams helped, too.
Suarez pitched seven scoreless innings, Andrew McCutchen drove in two runs and San Francisco made them stand up in a second consecutive shutout over Philadelphia.
"He pounded the strike zone and they were all quality strikes, too," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good life on the fastball and had a good breaking ball and changeup going. No walks. He just pitched very efficiently.
"That's nice to see from this kid. He's got the stuff. He stayed at 93 [mph] all night. Really commanded the ball so well. He was on top of his game and you could see the confidence in him."
One night after Chris Stratton and three relievers combined on a six-hit shutout, the Giants blanked the Phillies again with pretty much the same formula.
Suarez (2-4) gave up three hits, had nine strikeouts and retired the final eight batters he faced while matching his season high for innings pitched. He had to pitch out of two jams and got a big hand from right fielder McCutchen, who made a running catch near the wall to strand a runner at third in the third inning.
Tony Watson pitched the eighth and Hunter Strickland worked the ninth for his 12th save.
"I had a good feel for the ball today," Suarez said. "My curveball was good today. [Catcher Nick Hundley] called it a lot and I got some swing and misses on it. Usually it hasn't been like that. It's usually a get-me-over pitch and today it was a strikeout pitch."
Philadelphia starter Vince Velasquez (4-6) was nearly just as good. The right-hander allowed five hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings but got no run support.
The Giants pushed across single runs in the sixth and eighth.
Joe Panik doubled and scored on McCutchen's fielder's choice in the sixth on a close play at the plate. Panik slid into home to beat a high throw to the plate from Phillies shortstop Scott Kingery, who was playing in.
Panik scored again in the eighth when he reached on an infield single and took third on Brandon Crawford's hit before McCutchen followed with a sacrifice fly to center.
The consecutive shutouts are in stark contrast to earlier this season when the Phillies swept a four-game series from the Giants in Philadelphia. San Francisco batters struck out 55 times in the series while being outscored 32-8.
"It shows you the way baseball is," McCutchen said. "It's the way it goes sometimes. Good thing that we're on the winning side of it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Got out of it: Suarez didn't pitch through traffic often but he was solid when he did. The Phillies had runners on the corners with one out in the fifth but failed to score. Suarez did the heavy lifting himself to get out of the jam, getting Jorge Alfaro to strike out swinging before Velasquez went down looking.
"In a game like this, that's the difference," Bochy said.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
McCutchen took a hit away from Cesar Hernandez and saved a run when he made a running one-handed catch on the warning track in right-center field for the final out in the third. Alfaro tripled with one out and remained there after Velasquez grounded out. Hernandez then hit a towering drive into the gap known as Triples Alley before McCutchen raced in from his spot in right to make the catch.
It was a five-star catch with a 19 percent catch probability, according to Statcast™. McCutchen also had an impressive sprint speed of 29.5 feet per second.
Bochy called it a great play. Suarez shook his head in amazement. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler was simply stunned.
"I thought the ball was absolutely murdered," Kapler said. "That was a tremendous play. I mean, great break, full speed, what looked to be a perfect route, never broke stride. Good job by him by making that play. Cesar leaned on that ball. He absolutely leaned on it. It was disappointing for the dugout. But a really good play by the other guy."
HE SAID IT
"It certainly paid off for us having a big park in that area. I didn't think he had a chance for it, to be honest. At first I couldn't tell if he caught it because his back was to us.That was a game-changing catch." -- Bochy, on McCutchen's defensive gem
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Kingery might have nailed Panik at the plate if his throw hadn't been so high. As it was, the Giants leadoff hitter barely beat the tag of catcher Alfaro as he slid into home. The play was close enough that Kapler asked for a replay. After a review of 1 minute, 35 seconds, replay officials determined the call would stand.
"Vince was throwing the ball well so sometimes you have to take a chance," Panik said. "For me, it's one of two things. You can't run the guy over so all you can do is either go dive in head first, which after my thumb [surgery] I'm not going to be doing, or do that kind of slide where you're leaning away and just try to avoid the tag. That's pretty much my only option at that point."
The Giants will have their hands full with Phillies right-hander Jacob Arrieta (5-2, 2.16 ERA) in the series finale Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park. Arrieta has won four of his last five starts against San Francisco. Dereck Rodriguez, son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez, makes his first career start for the Giants. The right-hander made his Major League debut Tuesday when he pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief but left after getting hit in the shin by a 108 mph line drive.
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.