SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Andrew Suarez usually relies on his curveball to get ahead of hitters. On Saturday, Giants catcher Nick Hundley wanted Suarez to close the deal with it.
Hundley had the right idea. Suarez combined with two relievers to pitch a three-hitter, lifting San Francisco over the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0.
Suarez (2-4) shined in his eighth career start, his best by far. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out five and walked none in seven innings of three-hit ball.
“My curveball was good today,” Suarez said. “Hundo called it a lot and I got some swing and misses on it. Usually it hasn’t been like that. It’s usually a get-me-over pitch and today it was a strikeout pitch.”
Tony Watson pitched the eighth, and Hunter Strickland handled the ninth for his 12th save.
Phillies starter Vince Velasquez (4-6) struck out nine and walked one in 6 1/3 innings of five-hit ball.
“I was just attacking the hitters, getting first-pitch strikes,” Velasquez said.
Joe Panik was 2 for 4 with a triple and scored both runs in his second game back from the disabled list with a left thumb sprain.
The Giants scored the game’s first run in the sixth when Panik beat a throw at the plate on Andrew McCutchen’s fielder’s choice grounder. The Giants added a run in the eighth when Panik scored on McCutchen’s sacrifice fly.
The Phillies were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They failed to score after Jorge Alfaro’s first career triple with one out in the third.
Suarez pitched out of a first-and-second no-outs situation in the fifth.
“(Suarez) just pitched very efficiently,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s nice to see from this kid. He’s got the stuff. He stayed at 93 all night. Really commanded the ball so well. He was on top of his game and you could see the confidence in him.”
The Phillies have combined for three runs in the last four games. They’d struck out at least 10 times in six straight games going into Saturday.
“We’re going through a tough stretch,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “We have to weather this storm.”
The Phillies had a runner at third with two outs in the third when McCutchen made an over-the-shoulder running catch at the edge of the warning track in right-center, robbing the Phillies of at least a run and Cesar Hernandez of extra bases.
“I thought that ball was absolutely murdered. That was a tremendous play,” Kapler said
Said Suarez: “I was like ‘oh crap.’ He’s a great outfielder and I’m glad he made a play because I think that would have changed the game.”
Phillies: SS J.P. Crawford (right forearm strain) was 2 for 5 with an RBI and two runs in his fourth rehab game with Class A Clearwater. … RHP Pat Neshek (right shoulder strain) threw his second bullpen session this week.
Giants: Giants 1B Brandon Belt had an appendectomy and was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He is expected to miss about three weeks. … C Buster Posey suffered an elbow contusion when he was hit by a pitch in Friday’s game. He wasn’t in Saturday’s starting lineup and is day-to-day. … OF Hunter Pence (right thumb strain) and INF Alen Hanson (left hamstring) came off rehab assignments and were activated from the DL on Saturday. … OF Gregor Blanco was designated for assignment. He will be outrighted Sunday and will report to Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday.
Phillies: RHP Jake Arrieta (5-2, 2.16) hasn’t allowed an earned run in 13 2/3 innings over his last two starts.
Giants: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (0-0, 2.70) will make his first career start. The 25-year-old son of Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez gave up four runs (one earned) in 3 1/3 innings in his major league debut in Colorado on May 29.