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Brewers salvage series finale against Giants, 5-3

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Sweep avoided.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at San Francisco Giants Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

The Milwaukee Brewers needed a Father’s Day victory today to avoid being swept on the road by the lowly San Francisco Giants, and they staked starter Chase Anderson to an early lead in the first inning. With two outs, Ryan Braun roped a single off opposing out-getter Jeff Samardzija, who then walked Mike Moustakas. That brought Yasmani Grandal to the plate, and he pushed the game’s first run across with a ground ball single to right.

Milwaukee added another run to their ledger in the top of the second inning, but were robbed of another on a freak play in right field. Travis Shaw led off the frame with a single to left and eventually scored on a two-out single by Ben Gamel, who batted leadoff and started in center field for Lorenzo Cain. So with two outs and a runner on first, Christian Yelich smashed a 117.9 MPH double to right field that would have easily scored Gamel...except for the fact that the ball somehow snuck through a gap in between a gate on the outfield wall. The out of play baseball was called as a ground rule double and put Yelich while keeping Gamel at third base. Braun struck out in the next at-bat to end the threat.

The Giants got a couple runs back in the bottom of the second to tie the game back up at two apiece. Evan Longoria led off the inning with a triple against Anderson and was scored on a one-out double by Kevin Pillar. Anderson got a break when Steven Duggar lined out to Eric Thames for the second out, bringing his opposing number Samardzija to the plate. But then Jeff slapped a single on the ground back up the middle to score Pillar and knot the score.

Chase settled down after that, at least for a bit, retiring the next seven batters in a row as his offense re-took the lead. Yelich got revenge for his bad luck in the fourth inning, going to the opposite field with a double that scored Gamel to make it a 3-2 ballgame. Then in the fifth inning, Eric Thames hit a towering shot off the foul pole for his 10th dinger of the season and a 4-2 lead. For as much consternation as there has been about the lack of production from first base, Thames has quietly put together a 129 wRC+ through 182 plate appearances this season.

The fifth inning was a struggle for Brewer starters during this series, and it got the best of Anderson today. Pablo Sandoval — who is not only still kicking around the big leagues, but has a 128 wRC+ in the year of Our Lord 2019 — kicked things off with a single and was followed by a base on balls to Joe Panik. The next batter, Mike Yastrzemski, attempted to give himself up on a bunt that should have been a pretty simple play for Travis Shaw at the hot corner. Unfortunately Chase also aggressively attempted to field the bunt, lost his footing, and wound up tripping up Shaw as he was attempting to get his throw off to first base. The toss was late and off the mark, loading the bases with no outs. After an “injury delay” and a pair of mound visits, Anderson was yanked in favor of Matt Albers.

Using a punchout of Buster Posey, a fly ball sacrifice fly from Brandon Belt, and a pop-out by Brandon Belt (after a walk), Albers navigated through the troubled waters while yielding only one run, keeping Milwaukee in the lead at 4-3. The Brewers were able to immediately get that run back in the top of the sixth inning thanks to the other first baseman on the roster. Pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar crushed a 92 MPH sinker off Derek Holland for a no-doubt home run to left field, his first pulled long ball of the season. Hopefully the long dong will be a springboard for Aguilar, who managed to pull his batting average back up over the Mendoza line with the shot and has a tenuous at best hold on a roster spot right now.

The bullpen locked things down for Craig Counsell’s crew after that. First off was Our Hero, who bounced back from a rough outing yesterday with a scoreless sixth inning. After Junior Guerra successfully converted his 10th hold of the year, out came Jeremy Jeffress, who struck out two batters in a scoreless seventh. Then came Josh Hader for a six-out save, striking out three batters across two perfect innings to close out the 5-3 triumph.

The victory moves our Cream City Nine up to 40-31, and, coupled with a loss by those dastardly boys from Lakeview, means that Counsell’s squad has a solo lead atop the NL Central standings. They’ll head to San Diego next for a three-game set against the Friars, beginning tomorrow night with Jhoulys Chacin facing off against Joey Lucchesi. First pitch is set for 9:10 PM central.

Cancel the west coast.