After watching one of his starting pitchers win for the first time in more than a month, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin has a new favorite hurler.
Ben Lively pitched seven strong innings in his major league debut, Odubel Herrera drove in three runs in Philadelphia's four-run seventh and the Phillies held on for a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday.
"He's my favorite pitcher," Mackanin joked. "The thing that impressed me the most was he showed no fear. He was cool, calm and collected. It was real fun to watch him pitch."
Lively (1-0) became the first Phillies starter to earn a victory since Jeremy Hellickson on April 27 by allowing one run and four hits with three walks and no strikeouts. A former fourth-round draft pick of Cincinnati in 2013, the 25-year-old earned the promotion after going 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA in nine Triple-A starts this season.
Lively gave the Phillies the type of start they so badly needed.
"I love going deep in games, that's one of my things," he said. "I was more excited (than nervous) to throw my first pitch. I was more pumped up than anything to finally get my chance."
Tommy Joseph homered for the Phillies, who snapped a five-game losing streak while winning for just the seventh time in their last 33 games. Philadelphia avoided losing its 11th straight series, which hasn't happened since the 1941 club did it.
"It's a good day," Mackanin said.
The Phillies will go for their first series win since April 27 in the three-game finale on Sunday.
But the win didn't come easy.
Brandon Crawford's one-out single in the ninth off Hector Neris brought San Francisco within 5-2, and Mackanin lifted Neris after pinch-hitter Aaron Hill singled home Crawford with two outs to make it 5-3. With runners on first and third, Jeanmar Gomez got pinch-hitter Nick Hundley to ground out to earn his second save.
"We just woke up a little too late," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The Giants took a 1-0 lead on Orlando Calixte's sacrifice fly in the second inning. But Lively, helped by three double plays, kept the Giants off the board from that point.
"We couldn't figure the kid out," Bochy said. "He has a different arm angle and a real good breaking pitch."
Philadelphia tied it in the sixth on Joseph's two-out homer that just sneaked inside the foul pole in left.
The Phillies broke the game open in the seventh.
Maikel Franco led off with a single and went to third on Andrew Knapp's single to center that spelled the end for Johnny Cueto (5-5).
Freddy Galvis hit the first pitch from Hunter Strickland to left to score Franco and put Philadelphia ahead. Cesar Hernandez followed with a single to load the bases for Herrera, who doubled to right-center to make it 5-1.
Cueto allowed three runs and eight hits while striking out nine and walking none. He dropped to 1-5 in 12 career starts against the Phillies while continuing his road woes. The veteran right-hander has a 5.02 ERA on the road this season and a 3.55 mark at home.
CUTTING DOWN WALKS
Relievers Pat Neshek, Neris and Gomez didn't walk any Giants and San Francisco finished with the three free passes issued by Lively one game after walking 10 times in a 10-0 win over the Phillies.
BUSTING THE PHILLIES
Buster Posey extended his hitting streak against the Phillies to 17 games with a second-inning single. He is batting .362 over that stretch, which started July 24, 2014.
Giants: OF Hunter Pence (left hamstring strain) could return to the club on Sunday or Monday, Bochy said.
Phillies: RHP Joaquin Benoit (left knee sprain) was placed on the 10-day DL retroactive to June 1. LHP Adam Morgan was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to replace Benoit, who injured his knee on Friday on the clubhouse steps.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore (2-6, 4.98) takes the mound for San Francisco in the series finale. Moore gave up a career-high six walks the last time he pitched in Philadelphia, a 3-2 Giants win last Aug. 4.
Phillies: RHP Hellickson (5-3, 4.45) pitches for Philadelphia. Hellickson is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA in four career starts against San Francisco.