Vogelsong, Panik send Giants past Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Vogelsong practiced damage control for six innings, Joe Panik hit a go-ahead home run and the Giants finished a three-game sweep of the slumping Brewers with a 3-1 win on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.
Panik's two-run home run came in the fifth inning against Brewers starter Mike Fiers, who pitched on three days' rest in place of an injured Wily Peralta. Former Brewer Nori Aoki had opened the inning with a single -- his ninth hit of the series -- before Panik connected with a first-pitch fastball to erase a short-lived Brewers lead. It was the 60th home run off a Brewers pitcher this season, second most to San Diego's staff in the Major Leagues, but the first homer off Fiers in four starts.
Panik credited Aoki for dividing Fiers' attention simply by reaching base to generate the potential of a stolen base. "The pitcher has to think about him," said Panik, who has hit safely in 20 of his last 22 games.
The two teams remained headed in different directions. The Giants won for the 11th time in 13 games and secured their fourth series sweep, while the Brewers have lost seven of their last eight.
"If these guys weren't battling it would be different," Fiers said. "All these guys are battling. We're going through a time right now where were just not getting the hits when we need them. We're not making the pitches when we need them. But in reality we have four months left. There's a lot of time for improvement and change this thing around. We just need to believe and do it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Don't forget your 'pen: As good as Vogelsong was, his efforts would have been wasted if it weren't for another airtight effort by the bullpen. Right-handers Hunter Strickland, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla each worked a perfect inning and combined to strike out five in sealing San Francisco's first sweep at Miller Park of at least three games since a four-gamer July 5-8, 2010. More >
Triple-double: Brewers left fielder Khris Davis tripled in each of his first two at-bats for the 20th multi-triple game in club history, but his teammates were unable to send him home. In the first inning, Davis hit a one-out triple but Braun and Lind struck out. In the fourth, Davis led off the inning with a triple but was out at home plate running on contact on Lind's ground ball to first base.
"We were trying to create some action with making them make a play," said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. "If it's right at them, we're in trouble. It was right at them."
Shuffling the order: Hoping to rescue Angel Pagan from his mild batting funk (2-for-16), Giants manager Bruce Bochy dropped the switch-hitting center fielder from third to seventh in the batting order. The ploy worked as Pagan went 2-for-4 and scored a key ninth-inning run on Gregor Blanco's sacrifice fly after doubling. Bochy indicated that he might leave Pagan toward the bottom of the order for at least another game or two. The skipper also raised the possibility off batting Pagan second or third and dropping Panik to seventh. That didn't faze Panik at all.
"If he hits me in the sixth or seventh hole like he mentioned, that's a lot of RBI chances," Panik said.
Power outage: Lind was in an 0-for-16 and 1-for-22 funk before a sixth-inning single off Vogelsong. After posting a .333/.398/.573 slash line in April, Lind is 14-for-75 (.187) in May.
"This is a cyclical thing," Counsell said. "We're trying to shorten the bad stretches and lengthen the good stretches, and Adam is in a little bit of a bad stretch right now. It's the same thing -- he's searching and we're searching a little bit to try to help him. But I still see the same thing -- a simple swing. You see him chasing pitches outside of the strike zone, pitches up a little bit. You've got to get him back in the strike zone."
"It is not like we aren't trying. We're trying. Friday is another game, another series. We have to start from there and not think about the past. I know that's hard, especially myself. I hate losing. You get to the point in your career where the only thing that's important to you is winning. This is my time now." -- Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez, on the team's struggles
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
It was odd to see one of the National League's most dangerous leadoff hitters square to bunt on an 0-2 count in the eighth inning, but Gomez's history against Romo likely had something to do with it. When Gomez's bunt attempt spun foul for the second out of a scoreless inning, he fell to 0-for-9 lifetime against Romo with eight strikeouts.
"You have to figure it out. It is my ninth year in the league," Gomez said. "There's no question I'm not comfortable hitting Romo. I have to put myself in a situation where I can be productive. It is only down by one run. One big hit, I can score a run. Every swing I have on Romo is a swing and a miss. I think my best chance is to bunt. I almost got it. Bad luck."
Giants: The prospect of a seven-game homestand, which starts Thursday night at 7:15 p.m. PT against the Atlanta Braves, is especially encouraging for those Giants who have thrived at AT&T Park. That group includes Panik (.316 batting average), Angel Pagan (.310), Brandon Crawford (.309) and Buster Posey (.307). Six pitchers own sub-2.00 ERAs at home, a group that features Tim Lincecum (1.13) and Vogelsong (1.64).
Brewers: After honoring club founder Allan H. "Bud" Selig on Thursday's off-day with the grand opening of a museum at Miller Park, the Brewers will return to action on Friday night against the Diamondbacks at 7:10 p.m. CT. Jimmy Nelson will start, and shortstop Jean Segura will return to the starting lineup from a two-week stint on the disabled list for a fractured right pinkie finger.
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