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Phillies’ Feeble Offense Spoils Burnett’s Start

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Pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks off the mound so the grounds crew can put down dry dirt in the top of the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants on July 23, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Philadelphia Phillies walks off the mound so the grounds crew can put down dry dirt in the top of the sixth inning against the San Francisco Giants on July 23, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia offense wasted a good outing by a starter.

Former Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence drove in all of San Francisco’s runs with a double in the ninth inning, and Madison Bumgarner pitched eight scoreless innings to lead the Giants to a 3-1 victory over Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

One night after blowing just his third save in 26 chances, closer Jonathan Papelbon (2-2) took the loss.

The Phillies’ offense, which ranks near the bottom of the National League in several categories, managed just seven hits, and Philadelphia lost its fourth straight and seventh in eight.

“It’s really been the problem we’ve had the last three games, stranding guys out there,” Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. “It came up big tonight.”

Pence broke a scoreless tie with a softly hit blooper down the right-field line off Papelbon on a full count with two outs.

“Pence is the guy you want up there,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He has the knack of putting the ball in the right place.”

Whether the last two games have an effect on Papelbon’s trade prospects remain to be seen. He has recently been outspoken about his interest in moving to a contender.

“Whatever happens, happens,” Papelbon said following Wednesday’s game. “I have no control over it.”

He dismissed the notion that his value would be diminished by his last two outings.

“If you were to put the entire season into two games, it would be pretty dumb,” he said.

Marlon Byrd drove in Philadelphia’s run in the ninth off Santiago Casilla, who converted his seventh save in 10 chances.

The game was delayed for 59 minutes by a thunderstorm. Following resumption in the top of the fourth, the game was played in a persistent drizzle that got heavy at times until the rain finally stopped for good in the eighth inning.

Burnett pitched eight scoreless innings, striking out six, walking four and allowing four hits, in a performance that had to have impressed the scouts seated behind home plate. The right-hander has been a rumored acquisition for contending clubs as the Phillies are looking to sell at the trade deadline to get younger.

Bumgarner and Burnett allowed the relievers to rest following Tuesday night’s 5-hour, 46-minute marathon in which 16 pitchers were used in the Giants’ 9-6, 14-inning victory.

“What a job he did,” Bochy said of Bumgarner. “He saved our skin tonight. He gave us everything we needed and more. And Burnett, too. They were both locked in.”

Some small puddles formed on the left side of the infield, but second base umpire Bill Miller never halted the game after the first stoppage.

Bumgarner escaped trouble in the eighth, one of two innings the Phillies got a runner to third base with less than two outs against him. Consecutive singles by Carlos Ruiz and Domonic Brown put runners on first and second with no outs, and they advanced on Darin Ruf’s sacrifice bunt.

But Bumgarner struck out Andres Blanco and got pinch-hitter Grady Sizemore to fly out to left.

Failing to convert in those situations has been a recipe for defeat for Philadelphia for much of the season.

“It’s big,” Sandberg said. “That’s the difference between wins and losses.”

It was the 52nd time the Phillies have scored three runs or fewer, dropping to 9-43 in those games.

Bumgarner (12-7) gave up five hits, struck out six and walked none.

It was the sixth win in seven games for first-place San Francisco, which moved two games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Giants will look to sweep the four-game series on Thursday.

Pence was involved in a strange play in the eighth. After leading off with a walk, he took off for second but slid past the bag. He popped up, and rather than try to go back to second, he darted toward third as shortstop Jimmy Rollins chased him in a scene reminiscent of tag on the school yard.

About halfway to third, Rollins tossed to third baseman Blanco, who applied the tag for an unusual 2-6-5 caught stealing.

It was the second caught stealing in as many attempts for the Giants, as Ehire Adrianza slid over the bag in the sixth and was tagged out by Chase Utley.

NOTES: Burnett moved to 48th in career strikeouts, passing Dwight Gooden, with a first-inning fanning of Tyler Colvin. … In the series finale, Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (4-5, 2.83) will face Giants RHP Tim Hudson (8-6, 2.78).

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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