The Sports Xchange

By Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange

Phillies 5, Giants 3

SAN FRANCISCO -- Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Cody Asche hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and opened a two-run 10th with a double, eventually scoring the winning run on a hit batsman in a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.

The defeat cost the Giants, whose lost dropped for the seventh time in their last nine home games, a chance to move past the Pittsburgh Pirates and into the second wild-card playoff position. The Pirates, who also lost Friday night, retained a half-game advantage. Asche, the eighth batter in the Philadelphia lineup, opened the 10th with a double off the Giants' third pitcher, right-hander Santiago Casilla (2-2).

Left-hander Javier Lopez replaced Casilla at that point and fielded pinch-hitter Andres Blanco's bunt. But Lopez's throw to third base was too late to get Asche, with Blanco reaching safely at first.

After a flyout by center fielder Ben Revere, Lopez walked shortstop Jimmy Rollins on four pitches to load the bases. The veteran then grazed second baseman Chase Utley in the right knee with his next pitch, forcing in the tiebreaking run.

First baseman Ryan Howard followed with a sacrifice fly to deep left field, scoring Blanco with the final run of the game.

Right-hander Ken Giles (2-0), the second Phillies pitcher, threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings for the win. Right-handed closer Jonathan Papelbon posted his 28th save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th.

The win was just Philadelphia's second in seven games against the Giants this season.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval had three hits, including a double, for the Giants, who outhit the visitors 11-7.

The Phillies trailed 3-1 before Asche smacked a two-run home run off Giants left-hander reliever Jeremy Affeldt with no one out in the eighth. Left fielder Darin Ruf had opened the inning with his second hit of the night, a single.

The homer was Asche's eighth of the season.

The Giants took a shot at reclaiming the lead in the bottom of the inning when, with two outs and Sandoval on second base, second baseman Joe Panik lined a single to right field. Sandoval was waved to the plate, but Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd gunned him down by 30 feet.

Neither starter earned a decision.

Bumgarner, who was seeking his first home win in more than a month, left the game with a 3-1 lead after seven innings. He surrendered a solo home run to Byrd in the fifth but just three other hits.

He struck out nine and did not allow a walk in his first quality start at AT&T Park since June 10.

Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels gave up three runs -- all coming on a home run by left fielder Michael Morse -- in seven innings. He allowed nine hits and two walks, striking out five.

Hamels failed in his attempt to tie the franchise record for most consecutive starts of seven or more innings allowing one run or fewer. He entered the game with five in a row.

Hamels had held the Giants scoreless for three innings despite giving up hits in each. But that changed in the fourth when three consecutive hits -- each of a greater distance -- combined to put the Phillies in a 3-0 hole.

Catcher Buster Posey got the uprising started with a single to right field. He advanced to third when Sandoval one-hopped a ground-rule double over the fence in left-center field.

The Phillies chose to pitch to Morse with a base open, and it cost them. The Giants' leader in home runs lined his 16th well over the 382-foot marker in left-center field, just San Francisco's third homer in its last 10 games.

Byrd's homer, his team-leading 23rd of the season, came on Bumgarner's second pitch after having been staked to the three-run lead.

NOTES: The visiting team has won the last four series between the Phillies and Giants. ... The Phillies entered the series with a 15-11 record against the National League West, needing two more wins in seven remaining matchups this season to post a winning record against the West for the seventh consecutive year. ... Giants 1B Brandon Belt has an appointment to see Dr. Micky Collins, a concussion specialist, in Pittsburgh on Monday. Belt has made two trips to the disabled list since getting hit in the head by a thrown ball before the Giants' July 19 game at Miami. ... The Giants' game at Detroit on Sept. 7 has been selected as the ESPN Sunday Night Game and has been moved to 5:07 p.m. PT. ... The Giants' former home in San Francisco, Candlestick Park, was formally closed Thursday night after a concert by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney. The Giants played their final game at the 'Stick in September 1999.

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