An opportunity-laden trip to the West Coast continued to cause frustration for the National League Central leaders. Wily Peralta lasted for only three innings of a 13-2 loss at AT&T Park that began with boxing champ Manny Pacquiao throwing a ceremonial first pitch before the Giants scored an early knockout.
"This was gone, basically, pretty early," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We got a run early and you hope you can bounce back, but once it gets to that point, you're trying to survive with your pitching staff."
By the time the Cubs finished their victory over the Cardinals in St. Louis, Roenicke and the Brewers were already in survival mode. They trailed 3-0 after the first inning, 6-1 when Peralta exited after the third and 13-2 after the fifth as the Giants piled on against reliever Marco Estrada.
The Giants, winners of four straight games, finished with 19 hits. That matched the season high for a Brewers opponent.
But since the Brewers and Cardinals have each lost three in a row, Milwaukee's lead in the NL Central remained stuck at 1 1/2 games over second-place St. Louis. Pittsburgh suddenly lurks only three games back.
"I don't think a lot of us are paying attention to that stuff," said Estrada. "We know we're still in first place, and that's all that matters. A game like today, and even the series before [in San Diego], it's something you don't want to go through and you don't want to do -- you want to gain as much ground as possible. But every team goes through these types of games.
"All we can do is forget about it and worry about [Saturday]. If we come out swinging and pitch great and come out with a 'W,' these last three games won't even be brought up again."
Peralta's three-inning start was his shortest this season, and he threw only 45 strikes among his 80 pitches. The big right-hander was charged with six earned runs on nine hits, including eight singles -- six of which rolled through the infield or, in the case of Hunter Pence's RBI infield hit off Peralta's glove in the second inning, didn't leave the infield at all.
"I fell behind on pretty much everybody, and that's what you're going to get," Peralta said.
Peralta was the first pitcher in the Major Leagues to win 14 decisions on Aug. 7 and was one of only three pitchers with 15 wins when he beat the Dodgers on Aug. 17. But in his past two starts, Peralta has surrendered 14 runs (13 earned) on 13 hits in eight innings.
"These past two starts have been terrible," he said.
"I don't know," Roenicke said, shaking his head. "We need to get him right, get him back where he's going deep in games and obviously keeping the run total down."
By the time a Brewers pitcher (Tom Gorzelanny) finally worked a scoreless inning in the sixth, the game had produced some eye-popping oddities:
• Buster Posey was out of the game before the final out of the sixth inning yet matched his career high with five hits. His only other five-hit night came in a 16-inning game.
• Posey and Pence combined for eight hits and six RBIs in their first nine at-bats. The top three hitters in San Francisco's order (Angel Pagan, Joe Panik and Posey) had 11 hits and seven runs scored before the game reached the seventh inning.
"We placed some balls in the right spots early," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Occasionally you're going to have a game like this."
• Estrada required 74 pitches to complete only two innings. He threw 38 pitches in a two-run fourth inning that featured a bases-loaded walk, and 36 more pitches in a five-run fifth that included two Giants triples and Gregor Blanco's two-run home run. It was the 29th home run off Estrada this season, most in the Majors.
Estrada was charged with seven runs (five earned) on six hits and two walks.
"It was just one of those days, no matter what you threw they were finding a way [to hit it]," Estrada said. "Wily made some really good pitches and they found a hole through the infield. I made a few good pitches, and they would find a hole, then with runners on, they would come up with a big hit. It's one of those days you have to forget about."