PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Vince Velasquez bent over, his hands on his knees, as another home run sailed over his head. But somehow, what looked like a lost afternoon for the Philadelphia Phillies turned into another win.
The San Francisco Giants took a 3-0 lead in the second inning before the Velasquez regrouped, beginning a string of five straight strikeouts.
“It’s just a different mentality when you give up three runs,” he said. “You kind of just say, forget it and keep moving on and get more aggressive.”
Velasquez recovered from a slow start to strike out 12 in six innings, Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer and the Phillies rallied past the Giants 6-3 on Thursday for a four-game sweep.
Phillies starters Zach Eflin, Aaron Nola, Nick Pivetta and Velasquez combined to allow four runs in 24 2/3 innings in the series with 40 strikeouts. The Giants struck out 55 times in Philadelphia, obliterating the previous team record of 44 in a four-game series set in 2003, according to Stats LLC.
“They’re all big arms. They’re all hitting 95-plus (mph) and they have good secondary pitches,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “(Velasquez) had a good curveball going. You look at this club, and they’ve been playing good. And if you’re playing good you probably have pretty good starting pitching.”
Odubel Herrera added three hits and drove in two runs, extending his on-base streak to 39 games for the Phillies, who improved to 15-5 at home.
Gregor Blanco and Alen Hanson homered to give the Giants a 3-0 lead in the second. Velasquez (3-4) allowed five hits, with his velocity improving as the game moved on.
Jake Arrieta came into the Philadelphia Phillies clubhouse afterward and saw Vince Velasquez surrounded by reporters.
“Way to go, Vinny,” Arrieta said.
While Arrieta became the big name when he joined the Phillies pitching staff before the season, he’s been impressed by his young teammates.
Santana, batting .153 entering May, continued his recent tear when he connected off Ty Blach (3-4) in a four-run fourth. Santana, signed away from Cleveland in the offseason, has driven in 15 runs in the past six games.
Herrera doubled earlier in the fourth to give him the Phillies’ longest on-base streak since Bobby Abreu (48) in 2000-01. Herrera added RBI singles off Will Smith in the fifth and Sam Dyson in the seventh, lifting his average to an MLB-best .353.
“I think we’re seeing him lay off more pitches than he has in the past,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “The walk rate is up a little bit and I think he’s hitting in a really good spot in this lineup with some real damage behind him.”
Rhys Hoskins had an RBI single off Blach, who gave up five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Giants, who were coming off a three-game sweep at Atlanta, were outscored 32-8 in Philadelphia.
“We’re not going to dwell on this,” Bochy said.
With Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey getting scheduled days off, the Giants took their first lead of the series when Blanco hit the game’s second pitch over the right-field wall.
Hanson’s two-run shot in the second made it 3-0 and was the seventh homer allowed by Velasquez in his past four starts. Velasquez immediately settled down, striking out 10 of 12 hitters at one point and and adding two singles at the plate.
Seranthony Dominguez, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris each threw a hitless inning, with Neris earning his eighth save.
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto (elbow) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, meaning it will be late June at the earliest before he can return. . LHP Madison Bumgarner (finger) could throw a bullpen next week. . OF Hunter Pence (hamstring) is close to resuming a rehab assignment.
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek said an MRI showed a strained muscle in his right forearm after feeling discomfort in a bullpen session. “It could be 10 days to a month,” Neshek said on how much longer he’ll be out.
Akbar Gbajabiamila is a former NFL player and host of TV’s “American Ninja Warrior.” He is not, as fans at Citizens Bank Park saw, a candidate for the Phillies’ rotation. The left-hander took the mound and threw out the first ball — rather, he crazily bounced it up the third base line. His catcher, the Phillie Phanatic, never had a chance.
It marked the third game for the Phillies and the first for the Giants shown only on Facebook and not traditional TV. Bochy acknowledged he doesn’t have a Facebook account.
“I’m the tweeting king,” said Bochy, who has tweeted six times, all since April 24.
Giants: McCutchen, a five-time All-Star with the Pirates, returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since he was traded in the offseason. LHP Andrew Suarez (1-1, 3.06 ERA) faces Pirates RHP Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.42) in the opener of the three-game series Friday night.
Phillies: Arrieta (3-1, 3.49) starts Friday night at home against New York Mets LHP Steven Matz (1-3, 4.23) as Philadelphia tries to stop a bad trend. It’s 7-13 vs. NL East teams and 15-2 against non-division opponents.
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