Giants edge Brewers behind strong Bumgarner

Giants edge Brewers behind strong Bumgarner

SAN FRANCISCO -- It could be theorized that Madison Bumgarner, hitter, influenced the San Francisco Giants' 3-2 victory Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers as much as Madison Bumgarner, pitcher.

Bumgarner displayed his usual effectiveness on the mound, limiting the Brewers to both of their runs and four hits in eight innings. But he happened to be at the plate when Milwaukee reliever Will Smith flung a pair of wild pitches that helped San Francisco score the go-ahead run in the seventh inning.

With the score tied, 2-2, the Giants set up their fourth consecutive victory as Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco singled with one out in the seventh inning off Smith (1-1). The left-hander's first two pitches to Bumgarner were curveballs that skipped to the backstop, enabling Pagan to score and allowing the Giants to ignore the 13 runners they left on base.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy pointed out that pitchers rarely command enough respect as hitters to warrant receiving breaking pitches. With 13 career home runs, most among active pitchers, Bumgarner is an exception.

"It shows you how much respect he has as a hitter. He is pitched like a hitter," Bochy said. "He's getting 3-2 breaking balls, 2-0 breaking balls. Pitchers aren't giving in to him. ... They know that he has good power and if you make a mistake he can do some damage. That's what's a threat does for you, a dangerous hitter. It makes the pitcher be a little careful and sometimes that can bring good things up like a wild pitch."

Bumgarner has won seven consecutive decisions and has allowed two or fewer runs in his last 11 starts, the longest streak by a Giant since Juan Marichal maintained a similar 11-game streak from Sept. 30, 1965, to May 26, 1966.

"I've been moving the ball around, trying to put it where it needs to be," Bumgarner said.

The Brewers kept the score close thanks to Jonathan Lucroy's fifth-inning homer and Hernan Perez's sixth-inning RBI single, which followed Jonathan Villar's double.

Lucroy's solo home run

"They had a lot of traffic the whole game," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "If you really look at it, to only give up three runs we were probably fortunate. Will just kind of overcooked a couple breaking balls."

Busting out: Giants catcher Buster Posey went 4-for-5, raising his batting average from .257 to .270. It was Posey's first four-hit game of the season.

"I think you definitely can see a difference without that nerve thing [in Posey's right thumb] that was bothering him," Bochy said. "The time off served him well."

Posey's four-hit game

Decent debut: Outside of his pitch count that was at 87 through four innings, Brewers starter Matt Garza's first appearance of the season went fairly well. He pitched with runners on base all four innings but limited the damage to one run before giving way to Corey Knebel in the fifth. Garza also had good command for the most part, as he issued only one walk.

"Huge step from last year," Garza said. "Last year I had a problem with giving up those clutch hits in those tough situations. [Tonight] I was able to trust my body and trust my stuff."

Garza's season debut

Shouldering the load: Bumgarner maintained his typical backbreaking workload, throwing 113 pitches (including 78 for strikes). He entered the game averaging 106.2 pitches per start, second among National League pitchers behind teammate Johnny Cueto (106.7).

"It's fun to watch a really good, elite pitcher do his thing," Bochy said.

Bumgarner's brilliant outing

Lucroy ends June drought: Lucroy tallied nine home runs in May but hadn't hit one in June until he connected off Bumgarner leading off the fifth. It's the fastest that Lucroy has reached double digits in home runs in his seven-year career.

Joe Panik and the Giants received a break to open the third inning when Brewers first baseman Chris Carter struggled to pick up his grounder. Panik initially was called out after the ball was flipped to Carter. However, a replay review demonstrated that Panik was safe, and the call was overturned.

Panik's infield single

Counsell thought he had a shot at getting a call overturned in the fourth after Bumgarner was credited with an infield single on a close play at first. Crew chief and first-base umpire Joe West ruled that Carter's foot was not on the bag when he caught the throw from third baseman Aaron Hill and called Bumgarner safe. The Brewers challenged but replay officials were unable to determine if Carter's foot was on or off the bag and let the call stand.

Bumgarner safe at first

Brewers: Right-hander Jimmy Nelson will try to snap his two-game losing streak when he pitches in the series finale at AT&T Park on Wednesday afternoon at 2:45 p.m. CT. Nelson is 5-5 overall but has been roughed up in his last two starts, allowing eight runs over 9 1/3 innings.

Giants: San Francisco will end its eight-game homestand with Wednesday's 12:45 p.m. PT series finale against Milwaukee, the teams' last meeting in 2016. The Giants will give the ball to Johnny Cueto, behind whom they have won 11 of 13 games this year.

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Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to and covered the Brewers on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.