WP - Jeremy Jeffress (1-0)
LP - Albert Suarez (0-3)
SV - Corey Knebel (27)
HR - SF: Brandon Crawford (11), MIL: None
The Milwaukee Brewers had nowhere to go but up offensively after being shut out by one of the worst teams in the National League on Monday night. They still had their fair share of missed opportunities, but they cashed in on enough of them late in the game and survived a stressful start from Jimmy Nelson to take a 4-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.
After coming up empty a night before, the Brewers' offense put a run on the board early when Keon Broxton delivered an RBI single to score Domingo Santana and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Unfortunately, the lead didn't last long. The Giants loaded the bases against Nelson in the bottom half of the 2nd with just one out and scored a run on an infield single by Gorkys Hernandez. Nelson was able to work out of trouble by striking out Jeff Samardzija and then getting Denard Span to ground out, escaping the jam with the score tied at one.
The Brewers had a chance to respond in the top of the third, when Eric Thames led off the inning by crushing a ball that would have been a home run in just about any park in the league, but instead went for a triple. Despite the man on third and nobody out, the Brewers came away with nothing when Neil Walker flew out, Ryan Braun popped out, and Travis Shaw grounded out.
Fortunately, the Giants helped the Milwaukee bats out a bit in the 4th inning. Eric Sogard came up with a 2-out hit, then Keon Broxton crushed a ball to right that was misplayed by Hernandez. Sogard scored on the error and Broxton wound up at third, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, Broxton was hitting 8th tonight, and Jimmy Nelson wasn't able to bring in Broxton for an additional run.
Things began to get a little rough for Big James on the mound after that. He got Brandon Crawford to strike out to lead off the 4th inning, but then allowed a base hit to Pablo Sandoval and hit Ryder Jones -- who's hitting .198/.270/.333 this year -- with a pitch. Hernandez singled again after that, but Sandoval was held at third to load the bases against Nelson for a second time in the first four frames. He was able to tightrope out of trouble again, though, striking out Samardzija for a second time before getting a third out when Denard Span hit a screamer right at Thames at first base.
The 5th inning seemed like it would be a much easier frame for Nelson, getting two quick groundouts to begin the inning. But after walking Buster Posey, he gave up a two-out, two-run, go-ahead home run to Brandon Crawford to put the Giants up 3-2. At this point, it seemed like the Brewers were headed for another frustrating loss to an inferior opponent, especially after they couldn't score despite a two-out rally of their own in the 6th.
They'd get another chance an inning later, though, when Thames worked a one-out walk against Albert Suarez and Walker followed with a double into right to put two runners in scoring position. This time, Braun hit a deep fly to center field on the first pitch he saw. It was never a threat to go out for a home run (it might've been close in Milwaukee), but it was plenty deep to score the tying run on a sacrifice fly. Shaw followed by ripping a ball down the first base line for a two-out RBI double to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead.
How big are these two runs for #Brewers? They are 1-45 when trailing after seven innings. Lone W on Mother's Day vs. Mets.— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 23, 2017
Craig Counsell turned to Josh Hader to protect the lead in the 7th inning, facing the meat of the Giants order. The lefty bounced back from a rough previous outing, striking out Jarrett Parker, getting Posey to ground out on a 96 mph fastball in on the hands and striking out Crawford swinging to end the inning.
Hader came back out for the 8th inning to make Sandoval hit right-handed (his weaker side) and pumped a fastball past him for his third strikeout in four batters, and running his season total to 37 in just 28.1 innings. After Bruce Bochy pinch-hit for the lefty-hitting Jones with righty Nick Hundley, Counsell opted to bring in Anthony Swarzak.
Hundley ended up hitter a grounder to second base, but a bad hop when the ball hit the lip of the outfield grass caused the ball to skip over the glove of Walker for a single. Swarzak responded by striking out Hernandez before Hunter Pence -- who was scratched from the starting lineup with a sore hamstring -- was able to draw a walk. CB Bucknor proceeded to squeeze Swarzak in the next at-bat against Denard Span, who singled to right, but Hernan Perez (freshly into the game on a double switch the inning before) was able to get a throw home in time -- despite two hops -- to still easily get Hundley at home to preserve the one-run Brewers lead and end the inning.
Corey Knebel came on for the save attempt, but Kelby Tomlinson made for some tense moments right away when he was able to lunge at a curveball out of the zone and poke a leadoff infield single deep in the hole at short.
The Pineapple Cannon erased that hit, though, gunning down Tomlinson on a stolen base attempt (Pina's second caught stealing of the game). Knebel was able to get Parker to pop out after that and struck out Posey to become the first Brewers reliever to ever strike out 100 batters in a season and end the game.
With the win and another loss by Colorado, the Brewers are now back to 3 GB of the Rockies in the race for the second NL Wildcard and remain 2.5 GB in the NL Central after the Cubs' win over Cincinnati. Milwaukee will try to get out of the Bay Area with a series win tomorrow afternoon before a weekend series against the Los Angeles