PHILADELPHIA - Jimmy Rollins is at his best in the biggest games.
Rollins hit a three-run homer, Joe Blanton pitched neatly into the seventh and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants, 8-2, on Wednesday.
The two-time NL champions have won 20 out of 25 games and moved two games ahead of the Giants in the wild-card race.
“When there’s a lot of focus on our team, Jimmy rises,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “This is when Jimmy likes to play, or it seems that way.”
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Andres Torres and Pat Burrell homered for the Giants, who have lost three in a row.
Blanton (5-6) allowed two runs and eight hits, striking out seven in 6 innings.
Rollins singled, tripled and homered off Matt Cain (9-10). He flied out against Jeremy Affeldt in the seventh and grounded out against Guillermo Mota in the eighth as he failed to hit a double for the cycle.
The Phillies have had two players hit for the cycle in the past 47 years — Gregg Jefferies (1995) and David Bell (2004).
“The last couple of days, I felt better,” said Rollins, who missed 54 games this season with a calf injury. “My hitting area is starting to come to me. It doesn’t feel like the plate is in the other batter’s box.”
Pinch-hitter Domonic Brown blasted a solo homer into the second deck in right with two outs in the eighth, earning the rookie a curtain call from the sellout crowd.
Cain gave up five runs — two earned — and seven hits in six innings.
Burrell cut it to 5-2 in the sixth with his 12th homer in 58 games with the Giants.
“We’re not scoring a lot of runs,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ve got to get our offense going. There’s a lot of baseball left.”