AT&T PARK — After a decent 3-3 road trip, the Giants faced off against an ideal opponent, the lowly Milwaukee Brewers.
Just because you play a bad team doesn’t mean you always get the wins — as evidenced by the Giants’ three-game sweep at the hands of the Cubs in the previous homestand.
But thanks to a pair of miscues by the 47-65 Brew Crew, the Giants emerged victorious, 4-2 in front another sold-out crowd on Monday night.
With the Giants having won four of their last six games, Hunter Pence says they’ve got to give it their best for the remaining 51 games:
“Every game is big and we’ve got to treat everyday going out there giving it everything we’ve got, all the effort. Slowly doing that one game at a time is incredibly important. There’s only fifty-ish games left and we’re enjoying every bit of battling and keeping the positive hopes up.”
Chad Gaudin continues to impress for Manager Bruce Bochy. Though he didn’t get the win, he tossed 6-1/3 solid innings giving up only four hits and a run, striking out eight.
Bochy also has shaken up the lineup in the hopes of getting some production at the leadoff spot — which has been practically non-existent with the platoon of Gregor Blanco and Andres Torres.
The skipper chose Marco Scutaro, who took the collar going 0-for-5. Pence was also moved up in the order and, though he was hitless in four trips to the plate, he walked three times and stole two bases.
After Juan Francisco hit a ground-rule RBI double in the seventh inning, Javier Lopez was brought into the game in a critical situation.
With the bases loaded and one out, Lopez was to face Scooter Gennett, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke countered with right-handed batting Rickie Weeks.
Lopez got Weeks to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, though replays showed it was a very close play and Weeks argued with first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth that he was safe.
In the eighth inning, Brewers reliever John Axford (5-5, 4.47) walked Hunter Pence before getting Buster Posey to fly out to center. On the last ball of an intentional walk to Pablo Sandoval, Axford uncorked a wild pitch, sending Pence to third.
After Brandon Belt walked, Jeff Francoeur drove in Pence for the game-winning run with a bases-loaded single. The Brewers would commit another key error on a Joaquin Arias grounder that was booted by third baseman Jeff Bianchi, plating Sandoval and Belt.
Francoeur told SFBay the win is a good way to kick off the homestand:
“We lost a couple of tough ones late in Tampa. And to be able to come back and win the first one here tonight like that and the way Chad and Javy pitched, the double play (Lopez induced) I thought was huge. It kept momentum on our side and we were able to get it done.”
The Giants continue get men on base and leave them there. Monday they were 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners stranded. Buster Posey is 1-for-10 and 5-for-his-last-22 in such situations.
Lopez said the Giants are happy to take runs anyway they can get them:
“Obviously they had a couple of key errors and we were able to capitalize and that’s kind of been our Achilles heel at times this year has been our defense. To be able to take advantage of it from another team it’s kind of nice to just be able to get those runs across and hopefully that kind of kick starts the offense to get going.”
In the ninth, Sergio Romo gave up an opposite field home run to Francisco, but with a two-run cushion he was able to close it out for his 27th save.
Santiago Casilla (5-2, 1.32 ERA) picked up the win after hurling a scoreless eighth inning. … Pence is 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts this season, the most in the majors without being caught. … Gaudin has allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his ten starts. … Giants starting pitchers have pitched quality starts in five of their last six games yielding just eight earned runs in 40 innings. … Brandon Belt was 3-for-3. Prior to Monday’s game, he was batting .154 (4-for-26) in his past ten games. … Rookie Roger Kieschnick in his AT&T Park debut was 2-for-3. … The loss dropped the Brewers to 20-34 on the road. Milwaukee has lost four of its last five games.