I’ve learned in my time at The Good Phight that a zany, sarcastic, or even downright stupid headline can bring a laugh, a cringe, or maybe even a combination of both. But on rare occasions, it’s important to get right to the point. Ty Kelly, yes, that Ty Kelly, crushed a pinch-hit grand slam against the Giants on Saturday night, part of a seven-run 6th inning for the Phillies en route to an 12-9 victory in a game that got a little bit too close for comfort at the end of a long evening.
And while that 6th inning outburst broke a six-game losing streak for the Phils, it wasn’t without a completely inauspicious beginning emblematic of the 2017 version of this ballclub. After a speedy 1-2-3 top half of the first against Ty Blach, Denard Span lined the first pitch of the game from Jerad Eickhoff to right field, over the head of Cam Perkins. It caromed off the wall, careened back towards center field, and then took a nice long trip after Perkins kicked the ball while trying to field it. And Span kept running. While it may have looked like a double and a two-base error, the official scorer gave Span an inside-the-park homerun for this reason:
Scorer Jim Young: RF missing then kicking ball not a physical misplay because it resulted from an odd carom that eluded him. #SFGiants— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) August 20, 2017
Okay, fair enough. Despite an early 1-0 San Francisco lead, things would get better from there for the Phillies, though Eickhoff’s evening wasn’t exactly a crisp one.
A 3-1 deficit after two innings would be erased in the third thanks to Rhys Hoskins. Blach left a 90 MPH fastball middle-in, and Hoskins did not miss it, belting a three-run blast out to the seats in left. Hoskins now has four homers in his first 10 games as a Phillie. That’s a reason to tune in, eh?
The Giants would tie the game back up in the 5th, as Eickhoff’s evening came to an end. He lasted just 4 2⁄3 innings, scattering eight hits and allowing four earned runs. He threw just 53 of his 91 pitches for strikes, and struggled to find his off-speed stuff at times. Slightly frustrating for a guy who has been better over his last few starts.
But the Phils decided breaking out the bats in a big way would be a worthy thing to do, particularly in the midst of a six-game losing streak. And they did just that in the 6th inning. Cameron Perkins put the Phillies in front 5-4 with an RBI single. Pedro Florimon, who entered the game as part of a double switch in the 5th, brought home Perkins with a double. (That double switch, by the way, saw Maikel Franco exit a close game in the 5th inning, which, well, yeah, that’s kinda sad.) After Freddy Galvis made it 7-4 with an RBI single of his own, Nick Williams and Hoskins each walked, loading the bases.
And up stepped the pinch-hitting Kelly, who found it in him to do his best Barry Bonds impersonation by launching a mammoth home run to right field that almost reached the water. A grand slam, an 11-4 lead, and a game put out of reach, right?
Of course, things aren’t ever easy. Cameron Rupp, who had an incredibly rough evening defensively, added a homer in the top half of the 9th to make it 12-4. The Giants, amazingly, were able to bring the tying run to the plate in the 9th despite heading into the inning trailing by that 12-4 margin. A lot went wrong, to say the least. But to save the last remaining bit of sanity we all own and to keep my blood pressure at a respectable level, we’re not going to talk too much about that 9th inning. But we can say Hector Neris relieved Edubray Ramos when he shouldn’t have had to and struck out Carlos Moncrief to end the game and give the Phillies a 12-9 win.
Things almost turned catastrophic, as they often have this season. But on this night, we do indeed get to remember that time that Ty Kelly did something crazy.