I do not necessarily believe in the concept of a "scheduled loss," but you can understand why so many people felt that way. The stage was set for the SF Giants to take the loss as they faced a steep, uphill battle against Milwaukee.
SF Giants pull out surprising 4-1 victory against the Brewers
The Giants are already down two rotation arms as both Alex Cobb and Anthony DeSclafani hit the injured list with an abductor strain and an ankle injury, respectively. Sam Long was tabbed as Monday's starter and he was facing off against reigning NL Cy Young award winner Corbin Burnes.
To add to the complexity, the Giants were traveling from Washington and stopped in Milwaukee for the odd, quirky one-day trip. There were plenty of reasons why the Giants could have waved the white flag on Monday.
With all that being said, this is a Giants team that does not make excuses. That is not part of their identity. And, they continued to prove it on Monday night.
Burnes was as advertised for Milwaukee. He completed 6.2 scoreless frames while yielding two hits and two walks against 11 strikeouts. It was very unlikely that the Giants were going to win the game by going through Burnes.
However, the Brewers' bullpen had some soft spots considering that Josh Hader, Brad Boxberger, and Devin Williams were all unavailable to manage their respective workloads. So, the Brewers had to rely on lower-leverage relievers and that proved to be an opportunity for Giants hitters.
Former Giants reliever Trevor Gott was called upon to close out the seventh inning and continued into the eighth inning. The righty had not yielded a run all season. However, he yielded a two-out double to Curt Casali followed by a huge blast by Joc Pederson:
The Giants took the 2-1 advantage. Jake McGee pitched the eighth inning and allowed a solo shot to even the score at two. Jake Cousins, who had not pitched in over a week, was tasked with preserving the lead in the ninth inning for Milwaukee.
Darin Ruf and Brandon Crawford recorded two quick outs. Wilmer Flores followed with a four-pitch walk, setting the stage for Luis González. González was added to the Giants roster a couple of days ago after Steven Duggar was placed on the 60-day injured list with an oblique strain.
The left-handed bat is not a traditional power hitter, but he grinds out at-bats and has sneaky pop to the pull side. He battled against Cousins, fouling off several pitches. In the seventh offering of the at-bat, he hooked a blast down the right-field line to give the Giants a 4-2 advantage. That was
González's first major league home run and it could not have come at a better time.
The Giants held onto the lead and took the one-game series from the Brewers while facing off against one of the best pitchers in baseball. Of course, Monday's victory would not have been possible without a stellar effort from the bullpen.
Sam Long completed one scoreless inning before giving way to the bullpen. Seven relievers combined to allow just one earned run across eight frames. A bullpen game is a tough one to maneuver, but Giants manager Gabe Kapler pulled all of the right strings.
The Giants went 8-3 on a tough, 11-game road trip. They finally head home to face the Oakland A's on Tuesday night with Carlos Rodón on the bump.