San Francisco Giants drop opener to Brewers
By Mark ONeill
Though Pablo Sandoval remained hot, clubbing a three-run home run to account for all of the San Francisco Giants’ runs Tuesday night, the Milwaukee Brewers, behind home runs by both Carlos Gomez and Gerardo Parra, took the opener of the series, 4-3. Instant Replay played a role in this game with the Giants winning the first contested call, but losing the more important one in the top of the ninth, making it the final out of the game.
Jimmy Nelson started for the Brewers and worked seven innings, giving up the home run to Sandoval and five more hits, with five K’s and a meaningless walk. Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress worked the eighth, while Francisco Rodriguez closed the game out in the ninth, getting his 33rd save in 37 chances.
Tim Lincecum pitched well during his six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, with eight K’s and one walk. Four of his strikeouts were on called third strikes, including three in a row at one point. He started out the game retiring the first eight batters, but when he yielded a first-pitch, solid single to pitcher Jimmy Nelson, it meant instant trouble.
All-Star Carlos Gomez hit the next pitch out of the yard for a 2-0 lead. The irony of Gomez’ home run was that later in the fifth inning, he put down a perfectly placed bunt along the third base line, easily scoring Rickie Weeks from third base, giving Gomez three RBI’s in the game. After the home run in the third inning the last thing I was expecting was a bunt.
Pablo Sandoval stayed sizzling with his thirteenth home run of the season, knocking in Joe Panik and Brandon Belt, to tie the game at three. Sandoval has had fourteen hits in his last twenty-six at-bats with runners in scoring position. Panik was the only Giants with two hits, as the numbers six through nine batters in the lineup went oh-for-the-night.
The first Instant Replay call came in the third inning on a Hunter Pence two-out, infield hit and Joe Panik even followed with a single, but Brandon Belt flied out to center field to end the threat. Andrew Susac started behind the plate and went oh-for-four.
Jean Machi, who took the loss, relieved Tim Lincecum to lead off the seventh and Parra took him deep one batter later. Though Machi finished the seventh and pitched the eighth, the damage was done and sufficient to put the game away in the loss column, a constant concern for the Giants as the non-division leaders start to jockey for position in the hunt for a wild card spot.
This was a well-played game but in the end there was not enough firepower, with Michael Morse sitting out his second straight game, and Buster Posey being given the night off as well. Both made pinch-hitting appearances.
Reports are that Angel Pagan will be in uniform and starting for the Giants in Thursday’s finale. Let’s hope so.