Giants' comeback spoiled in ninth inning
MILWAUKEE -- On Tuesday, warning-track power wasn't quite enough for the Giants. On Wednesday, it's just what the Brewers needed to take a second straight game from San Francisco.
A key error followed by a game-winning hit in the ninth inning from pinch-hitter Blake Lalli lifted the Brewers to a 4-3 win at Miler Park. Brandon Crawford's errant throw on a Carlos Gomez chopper put runners at second and third with one out, and Lalli's fly ball to deep left landed on the warning track, where Gregor Blanco conceded a lengthy single.
Crawford, one of the game's emerging defensive shortstops, tried to throw out the Brewers' fastest player and sent it wide, putting two runners in scoring position against Santiago Casilla (1-1), who was in his second inning of work.
"I've made that play before and I'm sure I'll make it again," said Crawford, who felt a good throw still would have nabbed Gomez.
"The way [Gomez] runs, he didn't have a shot there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's so good over there, though. Occasionally we're going to make mistakes. It was a tough time to make one, obviously, but he's been as good as there is over at short."
At first it appeared Brewers manager Ron Roenicke would send his backup catcher, right-handed hitter Martin Maldonado, to hit in the pitcher's spot. Instead it was left-handed hitter Lalli, whom Roenicke said would have been replaced by Maldonado had Bochy elected to bring in a lefty.
One pitch later, the game was over. Casilla, who had allowed one hit in 6 2/3 innings of work heading into the night, allowed four hits in taking the loss.
"[Lalli] was in looking at videos and watching the pitcher throw and knew what he wanted to do first pitch," Roenicke said. "Lalli is a very smart guy. We saw that in Spring Training. He knew what he wanted to do in that situation."
Lalli had two hits in 15 at-bats with the Cubs last season but was 0-for-5 to start his stint with the Brewers.
The Giants, who scratched back to make a 9-3 game close Tuesday and hit three balls to the warning track that could have altered the 10-8 loss, once again rallied back from a deficit Wednesday.
It appeared that Brewers starter Kyle Lohse had exorcised all the demons from last year's National League Championship Series, but the Giants took one key opportunity to get nostalgic. Lohse -- facing the Giants for the first time since a disastrous two-inning start in Game 7 of the NLCS -- twirled five no-hit innings before the Giants scored three times in the sixth.
Crawford's leadoff single in the sixth ended the no-hit bid, and after a Ryan Vogelsong sacrifice, the Giants followed with three straight singles to plate a run and load the bases. Buster Posey struck out, but Hunter Pence rolled a ball up the middle for a two-run, game-tying single.
"It's just baseball," said Pence, who squared up baseballs in two other plate appearances but cashed in on a squibber. "You get out there and compete and it's a difficult game, and it's a funny game. Sometimes you hit it hard and you get out, and sometimes you hit it soft and get a hit. That's just the way it goes."
Crawford and Pablo Sandoval both upped their hitting streaks to 10 games with hits in the frame.
Lohse was tagged for five earned runs on six hits in his final game with the Cardinals last October before signing a three-year, $33 million deal with the Brewers in March. He has thrown three straight quality starts but still doesn't have a win after allowing the three runs on six hits in seven frames.
Yuniesky Betancourt homered for the second straight night, taking Vogelsong deep in the third. The Brewers made it 3-0 in the fifth when Gomez showed bunt, then tripled over the head of a drawn-in Pence in right field. Betancourt added a sacrifice fly.
Vogelsong finished with seven strong innings of his own, allowing three earned runs on five hits with five punchouts and three walks.
"I felt better -- still not perfect but today was definitely better," Vogelsong said. "You always want to stay in there as long as you can, but I knew they got a little beat up yesterday [in the bullpen]."
The Brewers' top four batters finished 0-for-12, with Gomez (3-for-4) leading an attack from the bottom third.