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Early homers not enough as Giants fall in Philly

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

PHILADELPHIA -- The breeze from the Giants' bats blew away layers of dust on pre-PDF record books as their hitters established a franchise record for strikeouts in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, who completed a four-game series sweep at Citizens Bank Park.

The Giants struck out 55 times against Philadelphia, their most for a four-game series since 1913. Sandy Koufax never led this kind of effort. Nor did Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Fernando Valenzuela or any of the storied aces the Giants once confronted regularly.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The breeze from the Giants' bats blew away layers of dust on pre-PDF record books as their hitters established a franchise record for strikeouts in Thursday's 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, who completed a four-game series sweep at Citizens Bank Park.

The Giants struck out 55 times against Philadelphia, their most for a four-game series since 1913. Sandy Koufax never led this kind of effort. Nor did Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Fernando Valenzuela or any of the storied aces the Giants once confronted regularly.

View Full Game Coverage

These Giants ran afoul of a group of starters -- Zach Eflin, Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, backed by stout relievers -- who appeared to be on the cusp of harnessing their rich talents.

"They're all big arms," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They're all at 95-plus [mph] and have good secondary pitches."

What was more aggravating than the 15 strikeouts Giants hitters accumulated Thursday against Velasquez and three relievers was the feeling of, "What happened?" Just last weekend, the Giants looked resurgent while sweeping a three-game sweep at Atlanta.

"We followed our best series with one of our worst," third baseman Evan Longoria said. "Credit to them. They threw the ball really well. We probably could have done a better job of grinding through some at-bats. We didn't swing the bat really well with runners in scoring position in the limited opportunities that we had. We were in some pretty quick holes."

Video: SF@PHI: Blach strikes out Hoskins swinging

One exception was the outset of Thursday's finale, when San Francisco jumped ahead, 3-0, through two innings on homers by Gregor Blanco and Alen Hanson, but couldn't sustain that momentum. San Francisco mustered just two hits following Hanson's long ball. Giants starter Ty Blach, who pitched a shutout here last June 2, cruised until the fourth inning, when he yielded four runs, including three on Carlos Santana's homer.

By delivering his fifth career leadoff homer, Blanco tried to fulfill his role as a leader.

"I was looking to pump the guys up and send a message to the other team that we were ready to play the game today," he said.

Overall, however, the Phillies denied the Giants all access toward opportunism.

"In the whole series, I had maybe only two good pitches to hit," Blanco said. "One I hit for a home run and the other I fouled off."

Video: SF@PHI: Blanco hits leadoff homer to right-center

Despite the outcome, Bochy sounded anything but defeated.

"We're not going to dwell on this," Bochy said. "That's the last thing I want these guys to do. We have to bounce back. It's going to happen during the season -- you get in a little funk, the pitch speed may not quite be there or the offense gets shut down. You've got to be resilient in this game. That's what it's about."

SOUND SMART
The Phillies recorded their first four-game sweep of the Giants since May 13-16, 1982. Steve Carlton won the second game of that series for Philadelphia, which finished off the sweep behind a complete-game three-hitter from Mike Krukow in a 6-1 win.

HE SAID IT
"Sweeping that team, that's a huge accomplishment. That's a good group over there. That team is going to win a lot of baseball games. I'm proud of the last four games for us." -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, on the Giants

UP NEXT
In what promises to be an extremely emotional evening on Friday, Giants right fielder Andrew McCutchen will return to Pittsburgh's PNC Park for his first appearance with the Giants since they acquired him during the offseason from the Pirates. Expect long ovations from the home crowd when McCutchen comes to bat. The pitching matchup features Giants left-hander Andrew Suarez against Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon, with first pitch set for 4:05 p.m. PT.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants, Gregor Blanco, Alen Hanson