Brewers' bats fall quiet after first inning, lose 7-2
MILWAUKEE -- Early on, it looked like Jeff Samardzija was headed for yet another rocky night at Miller Park.
The Giants pitcher steadied himself quickly enough, though, and pitched San Francisco to a 7-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.
The right-hander entered 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA in Milwaukee, but rebounded with a gem to get the win Monday. Samardzija allowed two runs in the first before dominating over 7 2/3 innings, retiring 19 consecutive batters in one stretch.
"For a big guy known as a power-type pitcher, he has remarkable command," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Samardzija's split-finger fastball baffled batters throughout the game.
"It was effective," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "We didn't do much against him."
Aaron Hill had a tiebreaking, pinch-hit double with two outs in the eighth inning off reliever Rob Scahill (1-2).
Milwaukee's first-inning runs came in an unusual fashion. With runners on second and third and one out, Hernan Perez lofted a fly to left. Eric Sogard tagged and scored when left fielder Orlando Calixte's throw sailed high over catcher Buster Posey and caromed off the wall behind home plate. The ball hit the screen and dropped behind a padded message board and out of play, allowing another run to score.
"I've never seen a ball sneak back there like that," Counsell said.
San Francisco cut the lead to 2-1 in the fourth on Joe Panik's run-scoring single. The Giants tied the score an inning later on Eduardo Nunez's home run.
San Francisco added three runs in the ninth, aided by a dropped fly ball by Milwaukee center fielder Brett Phillips, who was playing his first major league game.
Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra, who turned in back-to-back strong starts after coming off the disabled list late last month, struggled with his command. He gave up seven hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings. He had two strikeouts and three walks.
Samardzija threw 82 of his 119 pitches for strikes. He struck out 10 batters and didn't issue a walk. Over his last seven starts, Samardzija has 59 strikeouts and one walk. He credited pitching coach Dave Righetti for improving his mechanics.
"I'm a pretty excitable guy and I like to throw hard but it takes some time to learn that you have to get your body in the right position to throw hard with action and where you want it," Samardzija said.
Milwaukee placed 3B Travis Shaw on the paternity list and recalled Phillips, a top prospect in the organization who made his major league debut starting in center field.
"He's only going to be here for a couple days, most likely. There's no reason to sit there and have anxiety about it," Counsell said.
Phillips struck out in his first two at-bats but singled in the eighth. He threw out a runner at second but dropped a fly ball at a key point.
"What you hope for in your debut is to get those at-bats and kind of get settled in instead of sitting on the bench," Phillips said.
The Brewers acquired 18-year-old infielder Yeison Coca from the Red Sox to complete the December trade in which Milwaukee sent reliever Tyler Thornburg to Boston for Shaw, shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington. Coca batted .308 with one home run, 26 RBIs and 12 stolen bases in 63 games in the Dominican Summer League last season.
Giants: OF Hunter Pence, who entered the game in the seventh inning on Sunday after being activated from the disabled list, returned to the starting lineup. "Hopefully, he'll make us a little bit more consistent offensively," Bochy said. ... Posey fell hard after tripping over first base in the eighth but got to his feet immediately and remained in the game.
Brewers: RHP Matt Garza, who left his start Saturday after four innings following a collision on defense at first with 250-pound first baseman Jesus Aguilar, is expected to make his next start Thursday in the series finale against the Giants. "He said he felt quite a bit better today, so he has no concerns right now," Counsell said.
Giants: Matt Cain (3-4) is 3-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 13 career starts against Milwaukee.
Brewers: Chase Anderson (4-1) has tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings. He is 1-2 with an 8.15 ERA in four career starts versus San Francisco.