SAN FRANCISCO -- In a perfect world, Vince Velasquez makes a better pitch to Evan Longoria in the second inning Saturday and is able to complete the sixth or seventh inning rather than departing after the fifth.
But that isn't why the Phillies lost again.
Velasquez wasn't great against the San Francisco Giants, but he would've been good enough if only the Phillies had generated more offense. Instead, Longoria's two-run homer and the solo shot that Kevin Pillar added in the fifth inning enough to beat Velasquez.
"I thought his command was not his best, and I thought his stuff was also not his best either," said manager Gabe Kapler, noting the high volume of flyballs allowed by Velasquez as an indication that he didn't have his sharpest stuff. "At the same time, one of the adjustments that Vince is making is, when things aren't going well for him, he's been pretty consistent at grinding through and giving us a chance to win baseball games. I thought he did just that today."
Indeed, Velasquez kept the Phillies close enough. And after relievers Jose Alvarez, Blake Parker and Zach Eflin held the Giants scoreless for three innings, the Phillies brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning of an eventual 3-1 loss.
Velasquez's best moment came in the fifth inning when he got out of a two-on, none-out jam by retiring Brandon Belt, Mike Yastrzemski and Buster Posey -- the top three batters in the Giants' order.
"Just wasn't my best," Velasquez said. "Didn't really have my command with everything. You're going to have outings like this when you don't have a lot of life on your fastball. It's about finding ways to get outs."
Velasquez neverthless has demonstrated improvement since returning to the rotation in late June after a brief move to the bullpen. In his last eight starts, Velasquez has allowed 35 hits in 41 2/3 innings and posted a 3.89 ERA.
On the downside, he has pitched more than five innings only four times in 15 starts.
Left fielder Corey Dickerson homered in the first inning Saturday against Giants starter Jeff Samardzija. In eight games since being acquired by the Phillies in a July 31 trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dickerson is 9-for-26 (.346) with one triple, three homers, eight RBI and four runs.
"He's a banger," manager Gabe Kapler said the other day.