Giants hope to feast on Phillies again (Jun 03, 2017)

BY AP • June 3, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- A trip to Citizens Bank Park is turning out to be a remedy for any club looking to reverse its hitting woes.

Owners of worst offense in the major leagues entering the weekend (3.31 runs per game), the San Francisco Giants took advantage of a Philadelphia Phillies pitching staff that issued 10 free passes, its most this season, en route to a 10-0 win on Friday night to open the series.

The 10 runs scored were a season high for San Francisco, and came after the club managed just four runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals to close out May.

"I can't tell you when we've had a game like this, it's been a while. ... We did benefit from walks, obviously, but we had some good at-bats, too," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a good way to start the road trip and we got shut out twice the last homestand, almost got shut out a third time, so it's good seeing these bats come to life."

On Saturday, Phillies will hand the ball to rookie Ben Lively as the 25-year-old makes his major league debut after a stellar year-and-a-half in the club's minor league system.

In nine starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Lively is 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA. Last year, split between Lehigh Valley and Double-A Reading, he went 18-5 with a 2.69 ERA.

"What I hope is that he'll come up and do exactly what he's been doing at Triple-A," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak told CSNPhilly.com on Friday. "He competes his butt off on the mound, he throws a lot of strikes. He's got a really good feel on the mound. He demonstrated that to us last year and in the early part of this year and the hope is he doesn't change a darn thing because what he's been doing is pretty good."

Philadelphia's offense has been struggling itself, scoring just two runs per game over the last dozen. With a pitching staff wracked by inconsistency and injuries and a lineup that's not producing, manager Pete Mackanin is having trouble keeping optimistic.

"My challenge is to stay positive, I've got to stay positive with these guys," he said. "I've said this before but we've played 50-some games, there's a lot of season left, and stranger things have happened."

Lively will be going up against a veteran right-hander in Johnny Cueto who will be making the 270th start of his 10-year career. The two-time All Star is 5-4 with a 4.37 ERA in 11 starts, coming off a 2016 season where he went 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA.

He's faced the Phillies 11 times in his career, going 1-4 with a 5.37 ERA. When he last faced Philadelphia, on Aug. 3 of last year, he went 7 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and four runs (all earned) while taking the loss.

Cueto had a solid month of May, going 2-3 with a 3.83 ERA. His last time out was his most effective, when he gave up just one run in six innings in a 7-1 win over the Braves on May 28. Cueto had been dealing blisters on his pitching hand in several previous starts.

"They're not bothering me like they were before," Cueto told the Mercury News through an interpreter. "I'm just getting used to it, but I have to continue pitching until they get better."



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