SAN FRANCISCO -- Living up to his status as Milwaukee's most prolific run producer, Travis Shaw lashed an RBI double that capped a seventh-inning rally Tuesday night and carried the Brewers past the San Francisco Giants, 4-3.Trailing, 3-2, the Brewers began their go-ahead surge as Eric Thames drew a one-out
SAN FRANCISCO -- Living up to his status as Milwaukee's most prolific run producer, Travis Shaw lashed an RBI double that capped a seventh-inning rally Tuesday night and carried the Brewers past the San Francisco Giants, 4-3.
Trailing, 3-2, the Brewers began their go-ahead surge as Eric Thames drew a one-out walk from reliever Albert Suarez (0-3). Neil Walker's double moved Thames to third base and set up Ryan Braun's sacrifice fly. Shaw then lined his hit that generated his team-high 81st RBI and put Milwaukee ahead.
"We didn't do it with a homer tonight. But you string together hits," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "That got the job done. You have to string together consecutive at-bats, I think, in this park. Four guys put together good at-bats."
• Walker loving contributing to Brewers' chase
The Giants built their lead entering the seventh as Brandon Crawford's two-run, fifth-inning homer complemented Jeff Samardzija's effective six-inning effort. Giants manager Bruce Bochy removed Samardzija, who had thrown 113 pitches or more in three of his previous four starts, after the right-hander threw 89 pitches.
"I've worked him pretty hard," Bochy said of Samardzija, who yielded six hits and two runs (one earned). "I was really looking after him as much as anything."
Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson, who yielded three runs in five innings, kept the score close. After Nelson, four Brewers relievers -- Jeremy Jeffress, Josh Hader, Anthony Swarzak and Corey Knebel -- shut the door on the Giants, allowing three hits over four innings.
"Bullpen did a great job to pick me up," Nelson said. "I didn't go deep enough. Just some big hits down the stretch. … It was all of them, not just one guy."
The Brewers' triumph enabled them to remain 2 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the National League Central while moving three games back of the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card slot. The win was also the 200th of Counsel's three-year career as manager.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Samardzija slips off hook: In the fourth inning, Samardzija executed a difficult escape act or the Brewers squandered a promising opportunity, depending on your perspective. He yielded a leadoff triple to Thames with the 2-3-4 hitters due up. Samardzija proceeded to retire Walker and Braun on popups and Shaw on a grounder.
Samardzija admitted he wasn't focused on recording a shutout inning.
"At that point, you're just trying to limit the damage," he said.
Rally foiled: The Giants' hopes briefly soared in the eighth inning when Denard Span stroked a two-out single to right field with runners on first and second. However, third-base coach Phil Nevin elected to wave Nick Hundley, the lead runner, toward home plate. Right fielder Hernan Perez throw home skipped twice but still had enough on it to beat Hundley home as catcher Manny Pina applied the tag.
"A play at the plate, a big spot, he made a smart throw," Counsell said of Perez. "I think he knew he had time. He just made sure he got it there any way he could. That's a huge play. … Faster runner, I think he makes a more aggressive throw."
"I know they were going to send him -- that was the tying run," Perez.
Bochy couldn't pinch-run for Hundley because he had no available substitute first basemen. Besides, Bochy said, "As much as they got him, i don't know who would have made it. He was out pretty easy. i don't know much a little more speed would have helped."
"I think we're the only people playing baseball in the world right now." -- Counsell, on seeing results from the NL Central race while on the West Coast
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Thames' triple to lead off the third was exceptionally loud. It hit some 15 feet above the 421 marker in Triples Alley and was projected to travel 433 feet -- according to Statcast™ -- if it hadn't smacked the wall. It stands as the longest non-homer hit in the Majors this season.
"That's a home run in 29 other parks," Counsell said.
Brewers:Matt Garza (6-7, 4.81 ERA) starts the series finale Wednesday in a 2:45 p.m. CT contest against the Giants. Garza will try to lower his August ERA, which currently stands at 9.16.
Giants:Matt Moore (4-12, 5.54 ERA) will try to continue his winning ways as he starts Wednesday's 12:45 p.m. PT series finale. Moore broke a five-decision losing streak last Friday when he yielded two runs and two hits in a 10-2 victory over Philadelphia.
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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.
Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com who covered the Brewers on Monday.