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SF@PHI: Pill collects four RBIs, scores twice

PHILADELPHIA -- The newest Giants gave the team a fresh look Wednesday night.

Summoned a day earlier from Triple-A Fresno, where they respectively batted fourth and fifth, Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick remained an effective tandem in their initial appearance together for the Giants, who subdued the Philadelphia Phillies, 9-2.

Batting sixth, Pill followed his 3-for-4 performance Tuesday by driving in four runs with three more hits. His two-run single fueled San Francisco's four-run first inning before he added an RBI single in a three-run third and a seventh-inning homer. Pill's long ball ended the Giants' nine-game homerless streak.

Hitting seventh, Kieschnick made his Major League debut a memorable one by contributing RBI singles in each of those big innings. He became the first Giant to collect multiple hits and RBIs in his first Major League game since John Bowker did so against St. Louis on April 12, 2008.

"Good for them," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It lifted the club and got contagious."

Thus motivated, numerous Giants helped the team end a dreadful 8-17 July on an upbeat note. Chad Gaudin (5-2) continued his remarkable transformation from reliever to starter by limiting Philadelphia to one run and four hits in seven innings. Buster Posey, who sat out Tuesday's game with stomach discomfort, singled and scored in each of his first two plate appearances. And Brandon Crawford snapped a streak of 259 at-bats without a homer by connecting off J.C. Ramirez in the seventh inning.

This added up to the Giants' highest-scoring game in the 12 they've played since the All-Star break. They surely savored winning a lopsided affair after being outscored 47-18 while losing eight of their previous nine games.

But the talk of the clubhouse was Pill and Kieschnick, who seem to have a karmic connection. Until Kieschnick christened his Major League career with his single off Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick, the last Giant to hit safely in his first big league plate appearance was Pill, who homered off San Diego's Wade LeBlanc on Sept. 6, 2011.

Kieschnick felt comfortable following Pill in the batting order, as he had done through much of the season.

"That was definitely nice," said Kieschnick, who delivered both of his hits on two-strike counts.

Kieschnick also drew upon the memory of a pseudo-Major League experience -- an at-bat against Oakland in a Bay Bridge Series exhibition a couple of years ago. That day, nervousness nearly overcame him.

"I just always remembered that feeling," said Kieschnick, 26. "I was like, if I ever get another opportunity, I'd like to control my emotions. So that at-bat definitely helped."

It also generated the inning's final run, which marked the first time this season that the Giants scored as many as four runs in the first inning.

"My command wasn't very good," said Kendrick (9-8). "The ball was up."

Another plate appearance that repelled the Phillies was Gaudin's in the third inning. He stroked a run-scoring single to left field that ended his 40-at-bat hitless streak, longest in the National League. It also gave Gaudin his first career RBI.

Bochy revealed that Gaudin recently took about 150 swings in a private batting-practice session, hoping to improve his technique. Gaudin confirmed this, saying, "When 15 people ask you, 'Hey, when are you going to get a hit?', it kind of wears on you. Maybe I overdid it a little, but it paid off."

Of course, pitching was Gaudin's primary task. Not only is he 5-1 since replacing Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation, but he's also 4-0 with a 3.10 ERA in five road starts, bucking the Giants' trend of poor performances away from AT&T Park.

Ultimately, the seeds of this victory might have been planted after the Giants lost Tuesday, 7-3. Bochy related that several players were genuinely frustrated and expressed their feelings.

"I saw some pretty good snaps after the game last night. They care," Bochy said before Wednesday's game.

Asked after Wednesday's win whether he thought Tuesday's resolve lingered, Bochy said, "They went out with a little different attitude. They were looser today."

That freer mindset also spread with the expiration of the non-waiver Trade Deadline, which loomed over Giants such as right fielder Hunter Pence and left-hander Javier Lopez and created tension throughout the clubhouse.

"I think everybody likes our team as it is," Gaudin said.

For the first time in a while, the Giants proved worthy of such admiration. Comments