Papelbon hears boos as Giants rally past Phillies

Reliever Brad Lidge, after retiring Thursday as a Phillie, threw out the first pitch to Carlos Ruiz. Story, C5. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Reliever Brad Lidge, after retiring Thursday as a Phillie, threw out the first pitch to Carlos Ruiz. Story, C5. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Posted: August 02, 2013

One closer was showered with love Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Another was bombarded by boos.

The love was for Brad Lidge, the closer who recorded the final out of the 2008 World Series championship season. He retired as a Phillie before the game.

The loathing was for Jonathan Papelbon, who entered the game in the ninth with a 1-0 lead and allowed two runs to score before he could retire a batter.

The result was another wasted gem by lefthander Cole Hamels in a 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants that pushed the Phillies to a season-worst eight games under .500.

The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth off Giants closer Sergio Romo and failed to score. They also had two runners thrown out at home plate during the game.

It was Papelbon's first appearance at home since he said that he "definitely didn't sign up for this" and that the Phillies needed to make changes "from top to bottom" if they are going to escape the malaise that has engulfed the team most of the season.

"Obviously, I want to go in and preserve wins for these starters," Papelbon said. "That's what I take pride in. But some nights you just go back in the dugout and you kind of scratch your head like, 'What just happened?' A tough pill to swallow."

Frustrated all night by Hamels, the Giants immediately got something going in the ninth when Hunter Pence reached base on an infield single.

After Brett Pill singled and Pence went to third, the first boos targeting Papelbon were heard.

They grew louder when pinch-hitter Roger Kieschnick hit a first-pitch cutter past first baseman Michael Young for a game-tying single. They grew loudest two pitches later when Joaquin Arias singled home the decisive run.

"It seemed like all those balls had eyes on them," Papelbon said.

Papelbon (2-1) was charged with his sixth blown save in 26 opportunities. This was the first time he also took the loss. He thought he was going to escape with a win when the Phils loaded the bases in the ninth without hitting a ball past the pitcher's mound.

No such luck. Romo retired the light-hitting Laynce Nix and the struggling Carlos Ruiz on shallow fly balls that could not advance pinch-runner John McDonald from third base. The game ended with pinch-hitter Erik Kratz grounding out to third.

When asked whether the boos might have also been a reaction to his strong words Sunday, Papelbon did not back down from what he said.

"I think they speak for themselves," he said. "Whether I blow a game or whether I save a game . . . I feel like I'm honest and forthcoming. I don't shy away from things. . . .

"This is the big leagues. This isn't coach pitch. At the end of the day, not everyone gets a trophy."

Hamels had done his part. He wasn't Rick Wise on that 1971 night in Cincinnati when he pitched a no-hitter and hit two home runs, but Hamels did pitch eight shutout innings and drove in the Phillies' only run.

It was the first time since Aug. 13 of last season that Hamels did not allow a run, but it was also a continuing trend for the lefthander who had a 4.86 earned run average and one victory through the month of May.

Since then, Hamels has posted a 2.88 ERA in 11 starts, but the team is 5-6 in those games.

"Sometimes it's hard to dig yourselves out of a hole as a team," Hamels said. "We've just not been able to do it collectively."


Contact Bob Brookover at bbrookover@phillynews.com.

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