Brewers 3, Giants 1

Carlos Gomez lost his grip on the bat not once or twice but
three times Tuesday night, sending two of them into the stands.

Given that he also hit a timely home run off Matt Cain in
Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants, Gomez became
unpopular in a hurry with the 41,426 in the sellout crowd at
AT&T Park.

So, he tried to make amends – by blowing a kiss.

”`The best I can do is give you a little kiss,”’ he recalled
saying, ”and they were like screaming.”

Gomez homered and Wily Peralta outdueled Cain to end a
three-start winless stretch for the Brewers.

Gomez hit his 18th homer in the second as the Brewers jumped on
Cain (7-7) early. Jonathan Lucroy added a ninth-inning sacrifice
fly.

Aside from the slippery bat, Gomez didn’t seem affected by a
switch in his equipment.

”It’s a little cold and they don’t have the pine tar I like,
the pine tar that I have a good grip with,” he said. ”And I used
a maple bat. I don’t use a lot of maple bats. I always use ash. Ash
has better grip. But I feel like my ash bat is a little heavy and I
swing a light bat today. Always slipping. I was scared. Those fans
started getting crazy.”

Cain was handed his first loss since the All-Star break. The
right-hander had been 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the second half, and
certainly would have left with a win in this one if the Giants had
made good on even one of their missed opportunities.

Brandon Crawford doubled to start the eighth but the Giants
failed to bring him home for what would have been the tying
run.

Peralta (8-11) struck out six of nine batters during an early
sequence and finished with six Ks in 6 1-3 innings for his first
career victory against the Giants.

”I needed an outing like that. I was struggling the last two,”
Peralta said. ”I’ve been more comfortable because I’ve been
working in the bullpen and I’ve been throwing (off-speed pitches)
for a strike when I need to.”

Cain allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings, struck out
six and didn’t walk a batter for the fifth time this year – but it
wasn’t enough with little help from a stagnant offense.

The struggling defending World Series champions are 2 for 22
(.090) with runners in scoring position in the first two games of
the series. Pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias drove in a run on a
groundout in the seventh as San Francisco avoided being shut
out.

”It’s hard to explain when you go through something like
this,” manager Bruce Bochy said. ”Watching tonight, we had
trouble catching up with the fastball. It’s been a recent trend.
The bats look a little slow.”

Arias’ fielding error in the ninth led to Milwaukee scoring an
unearned run on Lucroy’s sac fly. The Giants had gone four games
without an error, but still have 80 for the second-most in the NL
behind the Brewers.

In the fourth, Norichika Aoki doubled leading off the inning and
advanced on Jean Segura’s groundout. With Aoki well off third,
catcher Buster Posey threw to try to get him.

But the throw sailed wildly into shallow left field past third
baseman Pablo Sandoval, who wasn’t close despite lunging to his
left and Aoki scored.

Peralta had lost his previous two starts and was winless in
three outings since back-to-back victories July 9 and 14. He
received a no-decision in his only other matchup with San
Francisco, a 10-8 Brewers win April 16 at Miller Park.

Jim Henderson pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 19
chances.

”Wily certainly is a guy we’d love to have in the rotation,”
manager Ron Roenicke said. ”Henderson at the back end, wherever we
decided, whether it’s closing or eighth, we think he’s really going
to be a valuable guy to have.”

Not to mention the guy they get back Wednesday night.

Right-hander Marco Estrada returns to the mound for the Brewers
for his first start since June 3 after spending time on the
disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

Posey, last season’s NL MVP and batting champion, was hit by a
pitch from Peralta above his left elbow with two out in the sixth,
and Posey grimaced in pain as he slowly walked to first.

”It’s frustrating. All of us take a lot of pride to be in those
situations and come through,” Posey said of the missed
chances.

NOTES: Peralta singled to start the sixth for his seventh career
hit and sixth this year. … Gomez is batting .444 (8 for 18) with
two home runs and three RBIs against the Giants. But he had been
hitless in his last 18 at-bats coming into Tuesday’s game.