PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera is known for his bat flips, so it is no surprise he launched one in the seventh inning Saturday evening at Citizens Bank Park.He ripped a double to center field against Hunter Strickland to score three runs in a 5-3 victory over the
PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera is known for his bat flips, so it is no surprise he launched one in the seventh inning Saturday evening at Citizens Bank Park.
He ripped a double to center field against Hunter Strickland to score three runs in a 5-3 victory over the Giants. Herrera entered the game in a season-long funk, sitting on the bench in three of the Phillies' previous four games as fans have called for his demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. But Herrera, whose .589 OPS ranked 166th out of 172 qualified hitters, doubled in the fourth and seventh innings for his first game with two extra-base hits since July 4, 2016.
"Hopefully it's going to start something good," Herrera said through the Phillies' interpreter.
Freddy Galvis' go-ahead single and Herrera's clutch hit in the seventh secured Phillies right-hander Ben Lively's first big league win in his big league debut. He allowed four hits, one run and three walks in seven innings, and the Phillies hung on despite the Giants rallying for two runs in the ninth.
Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto allowed eight hits and three runs in six-plus innings, departing after allowing two singles to start the seventh. He struck out nine.
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If things had gone differently, Cueto wouldn't have been on the mound to start the seventh. There was a pinch-hitter on deck for him when Austin Slater grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Those first two hitters, Maikel Franco and Andrew Knapp, singled. Strickland relieved Cueto and, before it was over, the Phillies had scored four runs.
"I was going to hit for him," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Then we hit into the double play, and Johnny started with the first two hitters and they had some pretty good at-bats, had some hits off him. He just got too much of the plate on some pitches, and they took advantage of it. The big inning just got us. But I think if you look at the game overall he threw well."
Cueto said he didn't lose focus because he thought he was coming out of the game. "No, no, not at all," he said through an interpreter. "It was going to happen, but it didn't happen. Obviously, I saw the pinch-hitter. And, yes, I thought I was coming out. But then [Bochy] told me I was going back in to pitch You have to be ready. You can't tune out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cueto finally pays: The Phillies went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts with runners in scoring position through five innings as Cueto wiggled out of trouble. But Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph hit a 3-2 changeup down the left-field line for a solo homer in the sixth to tie the game, 1-1. It was Joseph's ninth homer of the season.
"The thing that makes this game kind of special is Cueto's a good pitcher," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's really tough. We got a lot of hits off him and swung the bats well. Maybe this is the kind of game that will kick-start us. All the guys swung the bat very well and we got to carry that over through tomorrow."
A Lively debut: Lively allowed his only run in the second. Buster Posey reached on an infield single that could have been ruled an error on third baseman Franco. Posey advanced to second on a balk and reached third on a fielder's choice. He scored on Orlando Calixte's sacrifice fly to hand the Giants a 1-0 lead.
"He was cool, calm and collected," Mackanin said of Lively. "It was really fun watching him pitch." More >
"I'm sure that some pitchers may find it offensive, but I'm not trying to offend anyone. That's just the way I am and that's the way I'm going to play. … Of course, [getting hit in retaliation] worries me a little bit. I don't want to get drilled. But I'm not going to change the way I play. If I get hit, I'm just going to have to rub it in." -- Herrera, on his bat flips. Teammate Andres Blanco told Herrera afterward that Strickland is the pitcher who drilled Bryce Harper earlier this week in San Francisco, causing a bench-clearing brawl.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It was just the 11th time this season a Phillies starter pitched more than six innings, and the first time it happened since May 21. Phillies starters pitched a combined seven innings in the previous three games: Vince Velasquez (1 1/3 innings Tuesday), Aaron Nola (three innings Thursday) and Jerad Eickhoff (2 2/3 innings Friday). The Phillies still have not had a starter pitch more than seven innings this season.
The Giants challenged a pickoff play in the bottom of the third inning. They thought they got Cesar Hernandez at first on a throw from Cueto, but first-base umpire Mark Ripperger called Hernandez safe. But replay showed that first baseman Brandon Belt tagged Hernandez before he reached the bag, and the call was overturned.
Giants: Giants left-hander Matt Moore (2-6, 4.98 ERA) will be gunning for his fifth consecutive quality start in Sunday's series finale against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Despite a 2.73 ERA in his last four starts, he's 1-2 in those outings. On May 30, his last time out, he held the Nationals to two runs in six innings, but took the loss when the Giants were shut out.
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (5-3, 4.45 ERA) hopes a new month brings better fortunes to him when he starts Sunday's series finale against the Giants. He had a 1.80 ERA in five starts in April, but posted a 7.04 ERA in six starts in May. Hellickson pitched more than five innings just twice in May.
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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Giants on Saturday.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.