PHILADELPHIA - Managers often talk of pitchers "sniffing" the finish line in a complete game. For Ty Blach, that process didn't start in the late innings Friday. He has been on the prowl for a couple of weeks.
Blach pitched into the eighth in Chicago but didn't record an out, and he went 7 2/3 in his last outing before getting the hook. He has been thinking of finishing the deal, and as Friday night wore on, he started to eye that 27th out. Bruce Bochy did, too, and he let his young left-hander go for the shutout in a blowout.
Blach got there on his 112th pitch, and then he turned and waited for the Buster Hug. As the Giants gathered to shake hands and celebrate a 10-0 win over the Phillies, Blach turned and looked for the baseball. He tucked it into his glove, a memento from his first complete game and first shutout as a big leaguer.
"It's pretty cool," Blach said, smiling wide. "It's one of those things that as a kid, you're always dreaming of being able to throw a complete game in the big leagues."
Blach didn't stop there. He also tied a franchise record for a pitcher by drawing three walks. It was the Ty Blach Show, and the Giants were happy to watch. When it was over, Blach accepted a round of hugs from teammates and coaches. Bochy stood last, and after hugging Blach, he smiled and patted him on the back like a proud father.
"This kid has stepped in and done a nice job, a terrific job," Bochy said. "He steps in and gets his first shutout. Good for him. He had the curveball, the changeup, and he was hitting his spots. You just love, and I talk about it so much, his nice, quick tempo."
The other halves of the innings didn't go nearly as fast. The Giants entered the weekend ranked last in the big leagues in runs, on-base percentage and several other markers of a good or even average lineup. The Phillies apparently plan to change all that. The first night in Philadelphia was one for padding stats and releasing frustration. The Giants pounded 15 hits and accepted 10 walks.
Much of the damage was done from the top. Denard Span had three hits through three innings and finished with his fifth career five-hit game. He scored three runs. Eduardo Nuñez had three hits and a walk, raising his average to .288. Bochy said he's going to leave Nuñez at third for now, hopeful that he can keep a consistent swing without jumping around from position to position.
The production came from the bottom of the lineup, too. Blach nearly tied the MLB record for walks by a pitcher but home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi punched him out on a borderline 3-2 pitch in the sixth.
"It was a strike," Blach said.
Blach said he was just trying to "get good pitches to hit" and noted that the Phillies started pitching him tougher in the second half of the game. After the walks, he struck out three straight times.
It was a night for stats, good and bad. Austin Slater picked up his first career hit but also struck out twice.
"I wasn't expecting six (at-bats)," he said of his debut. "But it was nice. I got a lost of 'firsts' out of the way."
He also got a chance to witness a first. Slater was Blach's teammate in Triple-A last season. This night didn't surprise him.
"That's the guy I remember seeing all of last year," he said. "He's got great control and a great mix of pitches. He's tough."