Cameron Rupp, Phillies rally in 7th to beat Giants ace Madison Bumgarner



SAN FRANCISCO -- Three hours before game time Saturday night, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin was asked what he was thinking as his team got ready to face San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
“I’m thinking that I hope he has a bad day, that he’s not hitting his spots, that’s what I’m thinking,” Mackanin said.
Mackanin was told that Bumgarner hadn’t given up more than two earned runs in his last 12 starts, dating to April 15.
“Thanks for putting me in a good mood,” he said, pretending to be perturbed.
When the long day at the ballpark ended, Mackanin wasn’t just kidding about being in a good mood. He really was in one. That’s because his struggling Phillies, losers of 27 of their previous 34 games, actually went out and beat the high-flying Giants and their ace lefty.
The final score from sold-out AT&T Park was 3-2 (see Instant Replay). The Phillies did all their scoring in the top of the seventh with Cameron Rupp, their burly catcher, putting them over the top with a two-run homer on a full-count Bumgarner fastball.
Rupp’s seventh homer of the season was a no-doubt-about-it shot over the centerfield wall.
It traveled 433 feet.
“Nice wind-blown homer,” Mackanin deadpanned.
He laughed.

“Nah, he crushed that,” the manager said. “Big Head, he’s come up with some big hits for us. He’s been working on his swing path and little by little he’s been getting results.”
The sound of the ball coming off Rupp’s bat quieted the 445th straight sellout crowd in San Francisco. What did it feel like coming off the bat?
“I don’t know if I did feel it,” Rupp said. “The moment, the adrenaline, time of the game, against a guy like that.”
But Rupp did concede this: “I crushed it.”
Rupp wasn’t the only bit of power on display in this game. Edubray Ramos, the 23-year-old reliever just called up on Friday, had a dominant 1-2-3 performance in the bottom of the seventh to protect the lead. His fastball topped 95 mph and his breaking ball had serious downward bite. He threw 10 pitches and got two of his outs on strikeouts.
“It was nice to see the new guy,” Mackanin said. “I’m pretty excited about what I saw. For a guy like that to come in and throw that hard and throw his breaking stuff and attack the hitters – I like what I saw.”
“He’s got fire coming out of his hand,” Rupp said.
The eighth inning got a little hairy with David Hernandez allowing two base runners in a one-run game. Left fielder Tyler Goeddel saved Hernandez when he made shoestring catch of Brandon Crawford’s sinking liner and doubled-up Joe Panik at second after Panik misread the ball in his haste to score the tying run.
“That was a nice catch by Goeddel,” Mackanin said. “That could have been disastrous.”
Jeanmar Gomez got a smooth save.
Jeremy Hellickson kept the Phils in the game with six innings of two-run ball. He left with a sore back after taking a big swing against Bumgarner.
“I don’t know why I swung so hard, especially against that guy because you can’t even see the ball come out of his hand,” Hellickson said.
Bumgarner entered the game with a 1.85 ERA, third lowest in the NL. He did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and gave up just five in all. Three of them came in the Phillies’ seventh. Tommy Joseph doubled and Andres Blanco singled him home before Rupp’s big homer.
Rupp has been working on his power stroke in batting practice.
“For me, getting on first base means it takes three hits to score me because I can’t run so I’ve been working on driving the ball in batting practice and trying to take that into the game,” Rupp said. “I’m trying to drive the ball in the gaps and hit the ball out of the ballpark when I get pitches to do that. That’s the kind of hitter I need to be.”
Rupp was a focal point before the game as Mackanin announced he would not be behind the plate for Aaron Nola’s start Sunday. Rupp has caught every one of Nola’s 28 big-league starts. But Nola has pitched poorly his last three starts and Mackanin wants to put Carlos Ruiz, a more experienced game-caller, with Nola to see if it breaks him out of his slump.
“Catching is first for me,” Rupp said. “Anything I do at the plate is a plus. And I want to be back there every day, but I respect his decision. And Chooch could help Nola. (Nola) is a guy that’s never struggled in the big leagues. Chooch has been back there, World Series, no-hitters, perfect game, it’s a guy that could get him back on track. I’m all for it. We need him to be on his A game every fifth day and if that’s what it takes, absolutely.”
Entering the day, the Giants had won 31 of 40. Hot. Hot. Hot.
The Phillies have been cold, cold, cold. But this win felt good.
“It was huge,” Mackanin said. “These guys have been very vocal in the dugout. You can tell they want to beat this team because they are such a good team and because the guy that was pitching is such a good pitcher. It showed me a lot. It makes you a competitor. You know we’ve got a bunch of competitors there. That’s what I like about it.”

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