Before Ryan Vogelsong threw a pitch Wednesday night at Miller Park, he knew that he’d have no right to complain about a lack of run support.
And not only because the Giants scored three for him in the top of the first.
Vogelsong ended that rally because he didn’t run out a soft, spinning ground ball to shortstop Jean Segura. When Brandon Crawford beat the force at second, base, a run should’ve scored. But Vogelsong put his head down, stopped all progress down the first base line, realized his mistake too late and was forced out to end the inning.
The mistake cost the Giants a run, and a chance for Hunter Pence to bat with the bases loaded.
Vogelsong made amends the only way he could. He worked hard on the mound, held the Brewers to a run in six innings, the bullpen survived a rare flurry and Pablo Sandoval hit a right-handed home run in the eighth to pad an eventual 7-4 victory.
This one took just a bit longer than Vogelsong’s previous start, his first career complete game. That one checked in at two hours, six minutes at Citi Field. This one took three hours, 53 minutes.
Starting pitching report
Vogelsong (7-8) was still steaming over his baserunning mistake – or merely feeling the crimson-cheeked embarrassment – when Carlos Gomez teed off for a 440-foot home to start the first inning.
But it was the last run that Vogelsong allowed. He labored far too much to harbor thoughts of following up his first complete game with another one, but his outfielders supported him with plenty of catches as he made it through the sixth inning with a 4-1 lead.
Manager Bruce Bochy and a trainer came to the mound to check on Vogelsong in the sixth, when his back foot appeared to slip on the rubber and he bent over in pain. His back is sometimes a lingering issue, and the jarring motion probably didn’t feel too good. But Vogelsong was allowed to stay in the game and work out of a jam.
Vogelsong gave up seven hits, walked one and struck out three in six innings.
Juan Gutierrez didn’t retire either of the batters he faced in the seventh, both moved up following a wild pitch from Jeremy Affeldt that Buster Posey couldn’t block and Aramis Ramirez snuck a two-run single into left field. But Affeldt escaped the inning from there to protect what was reduced to a one-run lead.
A resurgent Sergio Romo struck out Martin Maldonado, Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez – all on quality sliders – to work around a soft single and his own throwing error in the eighth inning. (Weeks is 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts against Romo, by the way.)
Santiago Casilla, pitching in what suddenly became a non-save situation in the ninth, gave up a leadoff homer to Khris Davis. It was the second homer allowed this season by Casilla, matching the total he gave up last year.
At the plate
The Giants strung together good at-bats to bat around in the first inning against Yovani Gallardo, who entered with 16 2/3 scoreless innings but didn’t have the best command of his breaking ball. Sandoval’s RBI single put them ahead, which was a good omen. No team in the majors has a better winning percentage when they score first than the Giants, who entered 45-12 when drawing first blood. (They’re 16-40 when they don’t.)
But it was Michael Morse who came up with the big hit of the inning, a single up the middle that scored a pair. You couldn’t exactly hail Bruce Bochy a genius for resting Morse the previous two days, though. The hit was off the end of the bat, leaving only the handle in Morse’s hands.
The Giants would’ve had more if not for Vogelsong’s baserunning mistake, but Morse collected his third RBI of the game with a single in the fourth. It was a deluge of production for Morse, whose three RBIs equaled the number he had driven in over his previous 17 games. Morse hadn’t had a game with multiple RBIs since June 13.
The Giants struck for three more in the eighth when Juan Perez, Hunter Pence and Joe Panik singled to start the inning. The Brewers brought in lefty Tom Gorzelanny to turn around Sandoval, who was batting .185 from the right side. He responded with his second homer in as many days at Miller Park, his fifth from the right side and 14th overall this season – matching his total from last year.
In six games on this road trip, Sandoval has 10 RBIs.
Gregor Blanco hasn’t been the greatest at going back on balls this season, but he was busy near the warning track. So was Pence in right field. And Sandoval continued to play outstanding defense at third base, sliding on his knees to take away a hit from Ramirez in the first inning.
The Giants and Brewers wrap up their three-game series at Miller Park with the rubber match on Thursday. Jake Peavy (11:10 a.m.) takes the mound against Brewers right-hander Wily Peralta (13-6, 3.52). First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PDT.