Madison Bumgarner, who commands respect throughout the clubhouse for his maturity, was unusually blunt after the defeat, in which he threw seven shutout innings before Milwaukee scored four runs in the eighth. Asked by a reporter if the team's concentration seemed occasionally lacking, Bumgarner replied, "Sometimes, yeah. It seems like it some days we come in here, and some days it doesn't."
Responding to another question, Bumgarner acknowledged that he was vexed both by this particular setback and the Giants' fast-fading season.
"There's things I could have done different; there's things everyone could have done different," he said. "It's been the same story all year."
The Giants' offense continued to liquefy, mustering three hits. Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada, sidelined since June 3 with a strained left hamstring, allowed one hit and struck out six in five innings. San Francisco has totaled 16 runs in its last eight games and has gone homerless at AT&T Park in 11 consecutive games.
The Giants played admirable defense until they had to protect a lead. Then they dissolved. Ahead, 1-0, entering the eighth inning, they turned two potential outs into an infield hit and a run-scoring throwing error to help Milwaukee plate four runs.
Even Bumgarner's excellence was besmirched. After sustaining a two-hitter through seven innings, he was charged with all of Milwaukee's eighth-inning scoring, ending his nine-game streak in which he pitched at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer runs.
"We've had a lot of games like this this year," Bumgarner said. "For whatever reason, we don't look like the same team we were last year. We have most of the same guys out there. It's just not going our way."
The Giants actually had an opportunity to assert themselves before Milwaukee jumped ahead. They broke a scoreless tie in the seventh inning on Buster Posey's sacrifice fly, which appeared destined to be a two-run double until Brewers left fielder Khris Davis dove to snare the ball.
"That's a game-changer," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We still got a run out of it. That hurt us probably as much as anything, not getting that second run in. It's a different ballgame."
Earlier, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez made nice running catches at the warning track on drives hit by Posey and Hunter Pence in the first and third innings, respectively, and turned Pablo Sandoval's fifth-inning line drive into another out.
By contrast, defense was anything but an asset for the Giants in the eighth, which began with Bumgarner protecting a two-hitter and San Francisco's slim lead.
Davis drilled a leadoff single and Yuniesky Betancourt doubled to deep left field. Jeff Bianchi hit a grounder to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who hesitated before throwing to keep Betancourt close to second base. But that enabled Bianchi to reach safely as Davis scored.
Bumgarner then fielded pinch-hitter Logan Schafer's bunt and threw past third base in an attempt to record a forceout. Betancourt scored the go-ahead run while Schafer and Bianchi pulled into second and third, respectively. Santiago Casilla relieved Bumgarner, but that didn't stop the Brewers, who padded their lead on Norichika Aoki's two-run single.
Said Bochy, "Our execution killed us in the eighth. Infield hit, that really hurt. Not getting the out with the bunt."
Referring to the Giants' last-place status in the NL West, he added, "We're playing like where we're at right now. It shouldn't happen, but you get this kind of pitching and not get the win -- shame on us."
Bochy rejected the suggestion that trying too hard might have prompted the Giants' mistakes.
"It's not like there's a lot of pressure, especially where we're at," he said.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke savored the reversal of fortune.
"Those are good wins for us, because it doesn't happen very often," Roenicke said. "We make mistakes out there in the field and the other team usually capitalizes on it and we end up losing the game. It's nice sometimes when it happens for us."
Davis homered in the ninth and pinch-hitter Martin Maldonado singled home another run, both off Barry Zito in the left-hander's first appearance since being assigned to the bullpen.