Well, the Giants could look at it this way: At least they don’t have Gerardo Parra in the NL West anymore.
Of course, that doesn’t help them much these three games in Milwaukee.
Parra, whom the Brewers acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks a few minutes before the July 31 trade deadline, was a late-inning difference maker with his bat and glove in the Giants’ 4-3 loss at Miller Park Tuesday night.
Parra hit the tiebreaking home run off Jean Machi in the seventh inning. Then he slid in foul ground to catch Brandon Crawford’s little bloop with two runners on base and one out in the eighth. It was a huge out that helped struggling right-hander Jeremy Jeffress escape the inning and preserve Milwaukee’s one-run lead.
A quality start from Tim Lincecum and a three-run homer from Pablo Sandoval wasn’t enough for the Giants to win the series opener at Miller Park.
Starting pitching report
True fact: Lincecum has recorded a save more recently than a victory. His winless stretch hit three consecutive starts Tuesday.
But his outing was a major improvement over his previous two, and if not for Carlos Gomez, he might have held the Brewers scoreless. Gomez’s two-run shot in the third inning and his two-out bunt single in the fifth accounted for all three runs Lincecum allowed while striking out eight in six innings.
It took a bit of fortitude for Lincecum to hang onto his quality start and preserve the tie in the sixth. Jonathan Lucroy hit a double on a booming shot to center that hit off Gregor Blanco’s glove near the top of the wall for a double to put runners at second and third with one out. But the runners held when Mark Reynolds grounded out sharply to shortstop, and with the bases loaded, Lincecum got one more grounder to short to escape the inning.
Parra’s two-out home run off Machi snapped a streak of 23 1/3 scoreless innings by the Giants bullpen – its longest since 2010.
Machi (6-1) absorbed just his second loss in 11 decisions over three seasons as a Giant.
At the plate
The Giants struggled with another young pitcher they hadn’t seen before, but they made some nice adjustments after right-hander Jimmy Nelson held them to three singles in five shutout innings.
Joe Panik hit a leadoff single in the sixth and Brandon Belt flicked a pitch to the base of the wall in left-center for a double. With first base open, a 3-0 lead and red-hot Sandoval at the plate, it was a definite pitch-around situation – especially with Blanco an odd choice to protect him in the No.5 spot.
But Nelson tried to climb the ladder with an 0-2 fastball and Sandoval was all over it, tying the game with one swing. It was his 13th homer of the season.
The Giants didn’t get another hit after that. Jeffress was wild but struck out pinch hitter Buster Posey on a 3-2 curveball to strand both his walks in the eighth.
In the ninth, Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez issued a two-out walk to Hunter Pence and Panik, after hitting a chopper to second base, was called safe on a bang-bang force play. But the call was overturned on replay review, ending the game.
Sandoval made another solid play at third base, but Crawford made the Giants’ defensive highlight of the day when he took a hit away from Lyle Over bay in the seventh.
Not only did Crawford cover enough ground with his do-or-die dive up the middle, but he reacted to a short hop after Overbay’s grounder hit the mound.
The Giants and Brewers continue their three-game series on Wednesday at Miller Park. Ryan Vogelsong (6-8, 3.74 ERA) takes the mound against Brewers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (6-5, 3.38). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PDT.