SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants' 12-9 loss to the Phillies ended Saturday night with the potential tying run at the plate and Denard Span on deck.
Span's presence should have fueled the Giants' hopes during their last-ditch, five-run rally, given his performance to that point.
Span relied on a fortunate carom and determined baserunning to open the game with his first career inside-the-park home run. He's believed to be the only Giant to record an inside-the-park homer and a "Splash Hit" into McCovey Cove during the same season. Span admitted he preferred the novelty of the former.
"To set the energy and the tone -- that might be more exciting than a leadoff home run over the fence," Span said.
Span became the first Giant to lead off a game with an inside-the-parker since Johnny Rucker did it on June 20, 1945, against the Boston Braves at New York's Polo Grounds, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Span added a bases-loaded, two-run single one inning later. At that juncture, anything seemed possible for the Giants. Unfortunately for them, the possibilities included absorbing crushing counterpunches from the Phillies, who scored three runs in the third inning and added seven runs in the sixth.
Even Span returned to earth during the Phillies' surge. He lost Cameron Rupp's fly ball against the twilight sky, helping prompt the Phillies' sixth-inning outburst. He also flied out with the bases loaded to end the fourth inning.
"I'm not perfect," Span said.
He was certainly effective at the outset. Span drove Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff's first pitch to right-center field. The ball caromed off an archway and scooted toward center with Phillies right fielder Cameron Perkins in pursuit. Span's batting helmet flew off as he dashed toward third base, and he scored easily.
Perkins kicked the ball but was not charged with an error. Official scorer Jim Young explained that Perkins' boot resulted from the ball's unusual carom.
"I didn't see them misplay the ball," Span said. "As I was coming around second, I heard the crowd getting super excited and I saw [third-base coach] Phil [Nevin] with a lot of energy waving me. So I was thinking, 'All right, here we go, got to turn on the jets.' Try to make it home."
It was the 11th inside-the-park homer hit at AT&T Park since the yard opened in 2000 and the seventh by a Giant. The last Giant to accomplish this feat was Kelby Tomlinson on Oct. 3, 2015, in the first inning against Colorado. Span's inside-the-parker was the second of the season at AT&T Park, where Chicago's Javier Baez outraced the Giants' defense Aug. 7.