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Brewers beat Giants, 4-2, on Aguilar’s clutch double

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Crew overcomes masterful start by Derek Holland

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Milwaukee Brewers
Finally!
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Josh Hader (5-1); LP: Hunter Strickland (3-5); Save: Jeremy Jeffress (9); Home runs: SF - none; Mil - Ryan Braun (15)

not much to see in this Box Score - but it’s enough!

The Milwaukee Brewers (80-62) did just enough to win game one of their three game set with the San Francisco Giants (68-74) tonight at Miller Park, topping San Fran 4-2. The Brewers’ “A” bullpen combined for four hitless and scoreless innings with a walk and eight strikeouts to keep the game close and then close it out.

Economical? I’d say! 67% of Milwaukee’s hits scored, and 67% of them drove in runs. Unfortunately, there were only three hits. They scored just two of the eight walks that Giants’ pitchers issued, but that was good enough.

Brewers’ starter Chase Anderson was okay. There were baserunners in each of his five innings, but a first inning pickoff and second inning double play kept San Francisco scoreless, and in the third he pitched around a leadoff single and stolen base.

Ryan Braun staked Chase to a 2-0 lead in the first with a two out line drive into the Brewer bullpen. It scored Lorenzo Cain, who had led off the game with a base hit to right.

Anderson gave up singles to the first two Giants in the top of the fourth. After an out he wild pitched the runners up, and an infield out cut the lead to 2-1. In the fifth, Chase’s last inning, shortstop Alen Hansen ripped the first pitch he saw, a middle-in fastball, into the first row of the second deck in right. Manny Pina set up off the plate outside, and Chase missed his spot by a lot. The next three Giants went down, keeping the score at 2-2.

Meanwhile, Brewer bats went into hibernation. After Braun’s homer, nobody reached base until Braun walked with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Travis Shaw walked an out later, but Hernan Perez’s flyball to deep center ended the inning. Derek Holland was keeping batter hitters off balance all day; the homer to Braun was his only real mistake.

After a 1-2-3 fifth, Christian Yelich walked to lead off the sixth inning. Jesus Aguilar’s tap to the mound looked like it could be a double play, but Holland went to first for the sure out. Braun was intentionally walked, Jonathan Schoop fanned, Travis Shaw walked to load the bases, and Bruce Bochy rode Holland for one more batter, Perez. Holland made his boss look good, striking out Hernan looking to end the inning still 2-2.

Josh Hader took over in the sixth and had two scoreless innings with a walk and five Ks. His last strikeout was a big one, not just because in ended a perfect seventh, but because it was a pinch-hitter for Holland, Hunter Pence.

Bochy replaced Holland with another Hunter, Hunter Strickland, but this Hunter couldn’t find home plate. He walked the first two he faced, pinch hitters Curtis Granderson and Eric Thames. Strickland fell behind 2-0 to LoCain, and Cain got a fastball right down the middle but popped it up to center for out #1. Lefty Tony Watson took over to face Yelich and caught Yeli looking with a slider to get Aguilar to the plate.

Watson’s first pitch, a changeup right down the middle, was taken for a strike. Watson tried another one, and this one was down, but Zeus drilled it to the warning track in right center for the Brewers first hit since the first, a two run double to put Milwaukee up 4-2. Huge exhale.

That was the last hit by the Brewers, as four of the next five struck out (one reached on an error), but it didn’t matter as Joakim Soria had a perfect eighth with one k, and Jeremy Jeffress picked up his ninth save with two strikeouts and a groundout in the ninth.

The 4-2 win, combined with the Cards walk-off loss to the Tigers, pushes the Brewers hold on the top Wild Card spot to 1.5 games. They moved back to within four games of the Cubs, whose game was postponed in D.C. The Cubs and Nats will play a double header tomorrow.

Chris Stratton (9-8, 4.90) starts tomorrow night for the Giants, and Milwaukee will counter with Gio Gonzalez making his first Milwaukee Brewers’ start. Gio is 7-11 with a 4.57 ERA on the season, all for the Washington Nationals.

Game Notes

  • I was amazed at the similarity in stance and swing between Giants’ rookie Chris Shaw and Brewers’ second/third baseman Travis Shaw. Are we sure they aren’t brothers or something?
  • Granderson’s pinch walk gives him six times on base in nine plate appearances as a Brewer. He has now scored four times.
  • Home umpire Adam Hamari was all over the place tonight, missing balls and calling them strikes, and missing strikes and calling them balls. The Giants did their best Cubs imitation by whining extensively, while the Brewers did their share of complaining but walking away. When catcher Nick Hundley took two called strikes to fan in the ninth, he went ballistic and was immediately tossed. Both pitches were strikes. Bochy decided for an early shower as well.
  • Craig Counsell used nineteen players in tonight’s game.