Phillies survive rocky ninth inning, ride Ty Kelly's grand slam to victory over Giants

Phillies Giants Baseball
Ty Kelly celebrates his sixth-inning grand slam in the Phillies’ 12-9 win over San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO — Put two of the worst teams in baseball together in the same stadium for a weekend series, and weird things are guaranteed. The Phillies began an eventual 12-9 win by surrendering an inside-the-park home run on their first pitch. Ty Kelly, the least-used man on the Phillies’ roster, clobbered their first pinch-hit grand slam in five years. The Phillies rode an eight-run lead into the ninth inning and Hector Neris was still needed to save it.

That about summarizes this season. The Phillies had played 11 games in California before Saturday’s. They had lost all 11. Finally, when they won one, they could not even feel that good about it. The Giants scored five runs in the ninth inning and sent the tying run to the plate with two outs. The Phillies survived.

Whatever. A six-game losing streak dissolved in an offensive outburst.

“A win’s a win and I’m happy,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “I don’t look happy, but I am.”

A seven-run rally in the sixth inning began with Denard Span having lost a routine fly ball in the lights. It fell as a double for Cameron Rupp. Nine more Phillies batted that inning.

Kelly strode to the plate with the bases loaded. His last hit was July 29. His last extra-base hit came June 28. He had batted three times in eight days since his recall from triple A. He took the first two pitches, a strike and a ball. Then he lofted a change-up into the right-field seats at AT&T Park.

“I figured it would at least be off the wall,” said Kelly, who grew up 60 miles from San Francisco. “I was pretty happy about that.”

Kelly delivered the team’s first pinch-hit grand slam since Hector Luna did it in 2012. Kelly has 14 hits this season. He has 14 RBIs.

“He’s my secret weapon,” Mackanin quipped.

Hoskins, who homered for the fourth time in his 10 big-league games, might have been the most impressive hitter of the night. He walked twice. He is still adjusting to major-league pitchers, but Hoskins has demonstrated real discipline at the plate. He has not chased pitches. He has, at times, let a good pitch to hit pass without a swing. That selectivity should refine with time.

The Phillies played Saturday with a new first baseman, Jorge Alfaro. The rookie catcher started there because Phillies manager Pete Mackanin wanted to find a way to keep Alfaro’s bat in the lineup. That way, with a day game after a night game, Alfaro can catch Sunday.

Alfaro singled in the second but struck out twice in the Phillies’ huge sixth inning. He looked capable at first base.

“It’s really nice they want to keep me in the lineup,” Alfaro said. “That’s what I want. I want to help the team as much as I can. I’m just trying to get my pitch and make good contact. That’s all.”

It doubled as a chance to sit Tommy Joseph, who is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. Joseph is hitting .119 (7 for 59) with a .311 OPS this month. He may not play again Sunday.

Jerad Eickhoff failed to pitch six innings for the 11th time in his 22 starts this season. He surrendered an inside-the-park homer to Span on the first pitch he threw. The ball caromed off the wall in right field. Perkins kicked it toward center field. The last Giants hitter with a leadoff inside-the-park homer was Johnny Rucker, at the Polo Grounds, in 1945.

By the end of the night, that was but one oddity in a gruesome game full of them. Kelly’s swing was the most important.

“The first two weeks of the season I was basically not even on a team,” Kelly said. “And then I finally got settled in here and playing time was rare, tough to come by. But you just have to take whatever opportunities are given and I’ve been fortunate to get some big opportunities.

“A pinch-hit with three guys on base, you can’t ask for much more than that.”