MILWAUKEE -- Everything seemed to be clicking for the Giants during their resurgent May, but the club’s turnaround hit a snag following a 7-5 loss to the Brewers at American Family Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Giants dominated the first three games of this series, outscoring the Brewers by a 23-2 margin, but they couldn’t complete the sweep following a subpar start from right-hander Alex Cobb, who was tagged for a season-high seven runs on seven hits and four walks over four innings.
Cobb’s clunker snapped the Giants’ 13-game streak in which their pitching staff allowed no more than four earned runs, which had been the longest active streak in the Majors.
“My delivery was just off, and I couldn’t fix it quick enough,” Cobb said. “I feel like I started getting in a rhythm in the third and fourth, but obviously, the damage was done. It happens from time to time. You try to limit the damage, and I just didn’t.”
Cobb entered Sunday with 2.17 ERA, the fourth-best figure in the Majors, but he looked shaky from the get-go, allowing a walk and two consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first, including an RBI single to William Contreras. Brian Anderson later knocked in two more runs with a double to right field, staking the Brewers to a quick 3-0 lead.
Cobb permitted four more runs in a turbulent second inning that featured a pitch-timer violation, a disengagement violation, two stolen bases and a backbreaking two-run blast from Contreras, who drove an 0-2 splitter out to left field to give the Brewers a commanding 7-0 lead.
“It seemed like one of those days that everything that could go wrong, went wrong,” Cobb said.
The Giants trailed, 7-1, entering the top of the seventh, but they showed late life thanks to rookie catcher Blake Sabol, who snapped an 0-for-19 skid by crushing a three-run home run off Milwaukee right-hander Colin Rea.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford, who returned to the starting lineup after sitting out the first three games of this series, kept the rally going with a double to right field and then scored on Brett Wisely’s sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 7-5.
The Giants brought the tying run to the plate after Michael Conforto delivered a two-out single off lefty reliever Peter Strzelecki in the eighth, prompting Brewers manager Craig Counsell to summon closer Devin Williams to face the right-handed-hitting Mitch Haniger. Williams struck out Haniger swinging on a changeup and then returned to the mound to work a scoreless ninth and cap his four-out save.
“I was particularly impressed by the way we got down in this game but battled back all the way to the last pitch,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It never felt like we were out of the game.”
While the Giants’ comeback came up short, they continued to receive shutdown work from their bullpen, which saw rookies Tristan Beck and Ryan Walker combine to strike out five over four hitless innings behind Cobb. San Francisco’s relievers have logged a 0.78 ERA over 57 1/3 innings since May 15, the best mark in the Majors.
Despite the loss, the Giants still went 5-2 on this seven-game road trip and came away with series wins against a pair of first-place clubs in the Twins and Brewers. They’ll head back to the Bay Area with a 27-26 record and aim to quickly turn the page from only their third defeat in their last 13 games.
“I knew we were playing good baseball,” Cobb said. “It makes this game tough. We were playing good baseball and had a good run going, had a great road trip going. You just hope it doesn’t put too much of a damper on the momentum that we’ve created so far.”