By Vince Cestone
The phrase "Bye, Bye Baby!" found its way back for the San Francisco Giants.
The Giants defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 thanks to the home-run ball. San Francisco scored all four of their runs on home runs.
The Giants jumped out in front 3-0 on a three-run, first-inning big fly from Buster Posey off of Brewers' starter Randy Wolf. They would not score again until the top of the 14th inning, when backup catcher Hector Sanchez launched a go-ahead home run, giving the Giants a 4-3 lead.
Giants starter Madison Bumgarner cruised along until the bottom of the eighth inning. With Bumgarner and the Giants leading 3-1, shortstop Brandon Crawford made a crucial error with two outs just before Brewers' slugger Ryan Braun came to the plate.
Bumgarner's hope for a win was tarnished after Braun launched a 1-2 slider well over the left-center field wall. The game was suddenly tied 3-3.
Setup man Sergio Romo was ready to go in the bullpen, but Giants' manager Bruce Bochy opted to let Bumgarner face Braun. The move backfired, but the Giants maintained focus going into extra innings.
Before Sanchez's go-ahead, extra-inning home run, the Brewers threatened to win the game.
Milwaukee had a shot in the bottom of the 12th inning. With two on and two out, Giants' reliever Javier Lopez induced a Nyjer Morgan groundout to send the game to the 13th inning.
Morgan replaced Braun, who left the game with tightness in his groin. Braun is listed as day-to-day, and according to RotoWorld.com, he told reporters he was not sure if he would play in Game 2 of the series.
The only sour pill the Giants swallowed was the no-decision for Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner pitched 7 2/3 innings, giving up three runs (one earned), five hits, while amassing 10 strikeouts.
Another sour note to the Giants' win was shaky defense once again. The Giants made two more errors in Monday's game, increasing their error total to 44 on the season.
The Giants lead the National League in errors.
Fortunately, the Giants' bullpen picked up Crawford, who made the crucial eighth-inning error. In 6 1/3 innings, Giants relievers surrendered no runs and just one hit.
Giants interim closer Santiago Casilla shut the door in the bottom of the 14th inning to earn the win, inducing a game-ending flyout off the bat of Corey Hart, who went 0-for-6 on the night.
Melky Cabera continued his hot-hitting ways, going 3-for-5 with two walks and a triple. Cabrera's batting average increased to .360.
Cabrera leads all of baseball with 62 hits for the season, just behind the New York Yankees' Derek Jeter who has 60 hits.
I can not reiterate enough about how Bruce Bochy is doing a phenomenal job keeping this team relevant.
The Giants lead the league in errors, lost their meal tickets Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson to injuries, have the weakest infield in baseball, and are watching their rival Los Angeles Dodgers dominate the National League.
San Francisco have a lot on their plate in 2012, but somehow, someway, they are just one game back of the NL wild-card lead.
How is a team that has so much going against them still standing?
The Giants sit at 22-20 because of their 3.32 team earned-run average, good for third in the league. I do not know the exact numbers, but the Giants appear to pitch through errors better than any other team in baseball--they had to have done so if they are over 500.
A quick comment about the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wow.
They are just on fire right now. They currently have a five-game winning streak, including a sweep of the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.
This is all with the absence of their slugger Matt Kemp. They will be awfully tough to beat, but there is a lot of season left.
San Francisco is currently seven games behind the Dodgers.
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Information from ESPN.com contributed to this article.
Image Attribution: By Ed Bierman on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons