Gio Gonzalez hits stride in Brewers debut, tops Giants 4-3
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Gio Gonzalez didn’t need his affable personality to make new friends in Milwaukee on Saturday night.
“They believed in me and gave me a second chance,” Gonzalez said. “I want to return the favor.”
Gonzalez (8-11) allowed an unearned run and three hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one in his first start since an Aug. 31 trade from Washington. He retired 16 of his 21 batters and left with a 4-1 lead.
“It was a tough night in the early go,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We couldn’t do much with Gonzalez there.”
The veteran left-hander was 0-3 with an 8.70 ERA over his final four starts with the Nationals. Gonzalez had 10 days between starts, though, and took it to the Giants, who lost their season-high seventh straight game and fell a season-worst seven games under .500.
“Sometimes you have to (say) thank you but it’s time to move on,” Gonzalez said. “I’m here now with the Brewers. I want to win and help any way possible. I don’t care how the moment goes as long as it keeps going our way.”
Gonzalez helped Milwaukee pull within 2 1/2 games of the Cubs in the NL Central after Chicago was swept in a doubleheader by Washington. The Brewers also pushed their NL wild-card lead to 2 1/2 games over the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost 4-3 to the Detroit Tigers.
Christian Yelich hit his 28th homer for Milwaukee and reached base for the 24th straight game, the longest active streak in the NL. He has 10 homers in that span.
“He stepped up and gave us a huge start today,” Yelich said of Gonzalez. “You just kind of had a feeling he was going to do it today. He’s been so good throughout his career.”
Travis Shaw also got his 28th home run, taking Chris Stratton (9-9) deep in the first. Mike Moustakas drove in a run with a double and Orlando Arcia tacked on another with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Jeremy Jeffress recorded the final four outs for his 10th save and pushed the Brewers 19 games (81-62) over .500 for the first time since they were 51-32 on June 28, 2014.
The Giants got an unearned run in the sixth after a review of a call at home plate was overturned. Gregor Blanco reached on a fielding error but was erased when Chase d’Arnaud hit into a fielder’s choice. Austin Slater’s liner to left sent d’Arnaud home, beating the throw from Yelich. Plate umpire Phil Cuzzi originally called d’Arnaud out.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt, who was a late scratch with a sore right knee, struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Kelby Tomlinson, recalled from Triple-A Sacramento on Sept. 2 for the fifth time this season, replaced him in the lineup and played second. … SS Brandon Crawford, who was out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game with a sore left knee, drew a walk as a pinch hitter in eighth.
Brewers: RHPs Taylor Williams and Freddy Peralta will be activated Sunday and sent to the bullpen. Both were optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Aug. 30. Manager Craig Counsell said they would be the final September additions to the team barring injury.
YELLING FOR YELICH
Yelich made a great sliding catch on Alen Hanson’s sinking line drive for the second out in the ninth. Fans started their MVP chants as Yelich picked himself up.
“It’s definitely a cool feeling, for sure,” he said. “It’s not anything you expect as a player.”
Abiatal Avelino played shortstop and went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts in his Giants debut. He was acquired on Aug. 31 from the New York Yankees along with pitcher Juan De Paula in exchange for outfielder Andrew McCutchen.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-5, 3.07 ERA) allowed a season-high seven runs, six earned, over five innings in his last start Monday at Colorado. He is 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA in four starts at Miller Park.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-5, 4.88 ERA) makes his second start since missing more than three months with right rotator cuff inflammation. He received a no-decision, allowing only one run in five innings during the Brewers 4-3 win against the Chicago Cubs on Monday.