Bottom of the sixth inning. The score is knotted at 2-2. Domonic Brown is at second base, Wil Nieves is at first. After a 14-pitch at-bat between Ryan Howard and Dale Thayer that ended in a strikeout, Reid Brignac comes to the plate with two outs. The savior of last night's game has a chance to save another game today.
The story of the Phillies so far this year is one of blown chances. The Phillies of this series may have blown a few chances, but they took advantage of a few, too. And today, Reid Brignac seized his and laced a two-run double to left center to break the tie.
John Mayberry Jr. had his moment as well. He hit a three run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, which put the Phillies up 7-2 and broke the game wide open. I'd say that makes up for running into an out at home plate today two different times. That's right. Two. times But...
John Mayberry Jr. is OPSing .951.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) June 12, 2014
Now, I want to speak directly to Ryne Sandberg. I know you may have the urge to use Mayberry more often because he's been hitting so well. You know why he's been hitting so well? Because you've been using him sparingly. Deploy him wisely and he'll continue to be an asset. Use him more often and he'll start to suck. History tells us this. Don't ignore history, Ryne.
Over on the other side of the plate, Kyle Kendrick had a rough first inning, which is actually part of his contract for this season. Don't believe me? Well you should. Don't look it up. It's totally true.
Kyle Kendrick has allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in the first innings of his 13 starts.— Matt Gelb (@magelb) June 12, 2014
During today's first inning, the Padres scored two runs on three hits. But after that, he calmed right down. Between innings 2 and 6, Kendrick allowed four more hits, but none crossed the plate. And he didn't walk anyone at all. I'd take that start from Kyle Kendrick anytime.
Antonio Bastardo picked up where Kendrick left off, and he pitched a scoreless, hitless inning -- his third in a row. Then Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless, hitless inning of his own. We were at the top of the ninth inning of a 7-2 game, and it was the perfect time for Ken Giles to pitch. But Ryne Sandberg was taking very, very seriously his vow to ease Giles into pitching. So instead of Giles starting the inning, Mario Hollands faced two batters. Once they were dispatched, though, this happened:
Ken Giles will make his debut in the 9th. He is not levitating in from the bullpen. I'm confused.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) June 12, 2014
Giles' first pitch to Yasmani Grandal was somewhere between 99 and 100 miles per hour (the Pitch f/x data and the radar gun at the stadium differ on just how fast his first pitch was). It was a strike. Giles then missed the strike zone once, twice, three times in a row. Grandal didn't miss Giles' fifth pitch, and it landed in the seats. The first batter Ken Giles ever faced in the major leagues hit a home run off him. Giles limited the damage to that, though, and struck out Alexi Amarista to end the game.
Also, this recap wouldn't be complete without a Jimmy Rollins Hit Record Update. Jimmy had one hit today, bringing him to 2,233. He's one away from tying the record, and two away from breaking it. If he wants to do it at home, he's got another three games to do it. Go, Jimmy, go!
The Phillies have a chance for their first four-game winning streak since they won five straight June 2-6, 2013, with a victory Friday against the Cubs.
Let's do this, Phillies. It's time. You face the Cubs tomorrow, and they're terrible. They have a worse record than you guys. You're on a roll. You can do this! Seize your chance! Seize your destiny!
I'm breaking out "seize your destiny" as encouragement for a four-game winning streak. This is where we are. But I'd rather the Phillies be here than not be here.