Lucroy homers but Brewers can't make it past Giants
SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner is on a roll reminiscent of that remarkable postseason run two years ago by the 2014 World Series MVP.
That's the best he has felt. This stretch isn't too far off.
The big left-hander struck out eight over eight innings to win his career-best seventh straight decision, Buster Posey had a season-high four hits and the San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
"Command's been there for me," Bumgarner said. "Whether you feel good or not, if you're able to make pitches, usually it works out for you. That's all I've been doing, moving the ball around and trying to put it where it needs to be."
Bumgarner (8-2) allowed four hits and two runs in a 113-pitch performance. His seven-game winning streak spanning 10 starts since an April 20 loss to Arizona is the longest by a Giants pitcher since Barry Zito's seven consecutive victories Aug. 7-Oct. 2, 2012.
Oh, and Bumgarner is so dangerous with a bat he is now being pitched like a regular hitter. He beat out an infield single in the fourth that held up after review and also walked twice.
"It's really fun to watch a really good elite pitcher do his thing," manager Bruce Bochy said. "What's really amazing about him is the little things he does, pickoff a runner, what he does with the bat. . . . He competes in every aspect of the game, and that's what makes him so special."
Angel Pagan returned from the disabled list following a hamstring injury and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a second wild pitch of the inning by loser Will Smith (1-1). Pagan also drove in a run on a groundout in the fifth off Carlos Torres, who relieved after Corey Knebel allowed a single and two walks to start the inning.
But Milwaukee tied it on Hernan Perez's RBI single in the sixth that followed a two-out double by Jonathan Villar.
Bumgarner retired the first nine batters before Villar's single up the middle leading off the fourth.
Santiago Casilla pitched a perfect ninth for his 14th save, retiring Ryan Braun on a called third strike in an 11-pitch at-bat to end it as the Giants won for the 10th time in their last 12 games at AT&T Park while improving to 16-7 in one-run games.
Bumgarner has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 11 straight starts, the first Giants pitcher to do so since Hall of Famer Juan Marichal's 11 in a row from Sept. 30, 1965, to May 26, 1966.
The Giants have won the last 10 times Bumgarner pitched and are 11-3 overall in his outings. He has 78 strikeouts to 18 walks over his last 10 starts.
Milwaukee's Jonathan Lucroy homered leading off the fifth to make it 1-1.
Matt Garza went four innings in his season debut and return from a strained lat muscle on his pitching side. He allowed eight hits and one run, struck out five and walked one.
"The first time back out there in 10 months, but after I got the first out I looked over at our third baseman Hill and said 'Ahh, back to normal, let's go,'" Garza said.
Brewers: LHP Chris Capuano threw a 45-pitch bullpen and is expected to pitch in a simulated game Thursday or Friday as he works back from elbow soreness in his pitching arm. If all goes well, he could soon begin a rehab assignment. . . . RHP Michael Blazek (elbow impingement) allowed two runs and two hits with a walk in 1/3 of an inning for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Giants: Belt was hit in the right foot by a 92 mph fastball from Torres in the sixth and left the game. The ankle swelled but X-rays were negative. . . . RHP Matt Cain was placed back on the 15-day DL with the same right hamstring strain that landed him on the DL on May 28. Cain was just activated to pitch Monday night and allowed three runs, five hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings in San Francisco's 11-5 win. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to take his roster spot. . . . OF Mac Williamson was optioned to Sacramento to clear roster room for Pagan's return.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (5-5, 3.43 ERA) lost to the Giants on April 5 and is 1-1 with a 3.14 ERA in two overall starts.
Giants: Former Brewers nemesis RHP Johnny Cueto (9-1, 2.16) tries again for his 10th victory and his eighth straight winning start against the Brewers. Cueto, who pitched for the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central, is 10-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 19 career starts vs. Milwaukee.