The Brewers' lineup is full of home run boppers. It includes the likes of the slugging Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, and Rickie Weeks, but tonight, none of them went deep.
Instead, the Brewers were able to score on little ball, with the help of shaky Giants defense. The Giants on Friday night committed 2 errors, an uncharacteristic stat for them. Coming into the game, the Giants have only committed 66 errors, which is good for 3rd in the league. Tonight you wouldn't know it.
The scoring for the Brewers began in the very first inning. Madison Bumgarner, the Giants' starting pitcher, retired the first 2 batters quickly. However, Brewers slugger Ryan Braun doubled down the left field line passed Uribe and was singled in by Prince Fielder, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. Then things go weird.
In the top of the 5th, with runners at first and third with 1 out, Carlos Gomez grounded to shortstop Edgar Renteria. Renteria back-handed the ball in the hole and fired the ball home way off-line, scoring the runner from third. It is very unlikely Renteria would have had the runner at home even with a good throw, but it was a mental lapse, and there would be more throughout the night.
The Brewers scored their final run on a throwing error by Jeremy Affeldt in the top of the 7th. With 1 out and runners on first and third, Jeremy Affeldt came in to relieve Guillermo Mota. The hitter was George Kattaras. Kattaras hit a comebacker right to the pitcher, but Affeldt threw a fastball to catcher Buster Posey that sailed past him, allowing the runner at third to score and giving the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
The Giants could not muster anything against lefty Randy Wolf. Wolf pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 6. The first 4 hitters for the Giants were a combined 0 for 13 against Wolf, a big reason why they were shut out. Wolf improved to 12-11 on the year.
Madison Bumgarner was a formidable opponent, but came up short. Although he only lasted 5 2/3 innings and gave up 9 hits, he just yielded 2 runs and 1 walk, while striking out 6. He was the hard luck loser, falling to 5-6. He is still winless at AT&T park.
The Giants should not hang their heads too much. With San Diego getting pummeled by the Cardinals, the Giants remain in first-place by a half-game in the National League West.
The turning point in the game for me came in the bottom of the third inning with the score still 1-0. When Madison Bumgarner bunted into that double play with runners at first and second, the crowd of 41,835 at AT&T Park just went silent in contrast to how they sounded after the two singles to start the inning. Ever since then, the Giants looked flat both offensively (they would only get 1 hit after that) and defensively. The bunt wasn't even that bad, but 3rd baseman Casey McGehee picked it cleanly and made a good throw to second to start the double play. The bottom line was that the Brewers made their defensive plays and the Giants did not.
Randy Wolf was really good tonight and has been hot of late. He was pounding the strike zone low, high, in, and out. Every time he wanted the ball to go somewhere, it did. He was so good that he only had thrown 56 pitches through 6 innings. It's easy to say that the Giants should take more pitches, but when you have a pitcher always around the plate as Wolf was, everything looks like a strike. Thus, you are more likely to chase pitches outside the zone, as the Giants did with Wolf's high fastball and off-speed pitches down low.
The Giants had the atom ball going today. Buster Posey and Edgar Renteria both crushed a ball, but both were tracked down in the outfield. Pat Burrell had some good ABs too, but could only hit a hard ground ball to shortstop with a runner at second in the 7th. I made the point before. Baseball is a game of inches. Your job as a hitter is to hit the ball hard, and after that, it's out of your hands. Luck definitely was on the Brewers' side tonight, and it showed during Friday night's game.
Clearly the Giants' defense was awful tonight. They've played good defense all year, so I will give them a pass on this game. They have shown their resiliency all year, and I have no reason to believe it will be gone tomorrow. All teams will go through this in the course of 162, so don't panic Giants fans. It's all part of the game. If they look this flat the next 2 games, then you can panic.
This And That
The Giants fell to 4-1 against the Brewers this year. Madison Bumgarner remains winless at home. The Giants have won their last 5 series in a row. Pablo Sandoval has sat for the second straight game, and there is no guarantee he will play tomorrow against the righty. The Giants are 9-3 in their Friday orange jerseys after starting off 9-0. Tomorrow, Giants ace Tim Lincecum (14-9, 3.60 ERA) will square off against Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo (12-7, 3.64 ERA).