Giants fans have come to expect a lot out of Barry Zito, so watching him against the Milwaukee Brewers was definitely surprising.
Zito struggled mightily, giving up nine runs and two homers while recording just eight outs. Yuniesky Betancourt knocked Zito out with a grand slam in the bottom of the third inning, and Carlos Gomez homered off the left field foul pole in the second inning. The Giants got runs on the board, and they threatened a lot at the end, but the Brewers held on for a nail-biting win.
Wily Peralta, Milwaukee’s starter, wasn’t much better than Zito. He gave up a long home run to Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning, and Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run double and an RBI single. Peralta gave up six runs (five earned) in four innings, and he failed to earn the win. Brandon Kintzer, who recorded two outs and gave up no runs, earned the win.
Mike Fiers also played a key role in Milwaukee’s win, as he was able to escape a daunting jam in the fifth. San Francisco loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but Fiers got Pence to line out weakly to Jean Segura at shortstop. Hunter Pence worked the count to 3-1, and he thought he walked in a run when Fiers threw a low, outside pitch.
However, the pitch was called for a strike, and the Brewers caught a break. Then, they used their break to sneak out of the inning without too much damage.
After Brandon Belt flied out to deep left field, Gregor Blanco hit a hard liner right at Norichika Aoki, who caught the ball to end the inning. In the eighth, Aoki torched a pitch from George Kontos for a no-doubt home run, sealing Milwaukee’s fourth run of the year.
The Giants were able to make a rally in the ninth inning, as Buster Posey doubled to lead off the inning. Brandon Belt knocked him in with an RBI single, and Andres Torres came up with two outs and the chance to tie the game with a home run. He hit a Jim Henderson pitch deep into right field, but Aoki caught the ball on the edge of the warning track to end the thrilling game.
San Francisco displayed the resiliency that allowed them to take three games in Chicago, and they almost worked another miracle. The offense was clicking, as they scored eight runs and had lots of deep hits that could have brought in runs, but didn’t. The bullpen also did well, pitching 5 1/3 strong innings. Chad Gaudin led the way with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
Most of the team did well, but the most important player, Zito, pitched horribly, and the Giants couldn’t claw all the way back. As a result, San Francisco’s 16-game winning streak with Zito on the mound ended, and the Giants failed to pick up their 10th win. Milwaukee’s offense snapped out of a funk, as they ended a dreadful 32-inning scoreless streak on Sunday.
Can the Giants win their 10th game? They’ll have another chance tomorrow, when Ryan Vogelsong takes the hill. Unfortunately for the Giants, they could have done it tonight, but too many golden opportunities were missed.
The result? A crushing loss.