The trade the Giants made Saturday was not one fans anxiously awaited.
San Francisco let go of the home runs that had powered them Friday and used hit after hit and a few gracious walks to steal a game from Milwaukee, 8-7, winning their fourth straight at Oracle Park and improving to 30-38.
They can finish off a sweep of the first-place Brewers on Sunday before heading to Los Angeles for a four-game series against the Dodgers, as their crucial 20-games-in-20-days stretch advances to game 3. They’re 2-0 so far.
Will Smith, pitching in his fourth-straight game and whom Bruce Bochy did not want to use, got the final three outs — while letting up a home run to Christian Yelich — for his 18th save. Mike Yastrzemski made the final diving catch, with a runner on first, to seal the nail-biter.
The Giants scored all their runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings, rallying from a 4-0 hole thanks to 15 total hits.
Stephen Vogt, in for the resting Buster Posey, was the unlikely difference-maker with a pair of triples – the first multi-triple game by a Giants catcher since Steve Nicosia in 1984 – scoring two runs, including the tying one, and knocking in another.
Vogt decided to use Triples Alley this time 🤣 pic.twitter.com/X1171NtBU2
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) June 15, 2019
Their offensive firepower was absent through three innings, and it arose more from Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson’s implosion than Giants bats being dusted off.
After scoring one run in the fourth, they broke through in the fifth, when Nelson labored and walked the bases loaded. After 72 pitches – Nelson had thrown 65 June 5 in his first start back in the majors – Milwaukee brought in Adrian Houser to face Brandon Belt, who walked on five pitches to bring the Giants within 5-2. Pablo Sandoval bounced to first base, scoring Joe Panik and they drew to 5-3. Vogt launched a long fly-out, and it was a 5-4 game.
A second Vogt triple – of the game and season – gave the Giants life in the seventh, and Kevin Pillar followed with an RBI single to tie it at 6-6. Brandon Crawford doubled to right, and Yelich bobbled it, letting Pillar score the go-ahead run.
This was not the game to mail off to potential suitors, but Madison Bumgarner was not knocked out. The big left-hander labored through six innings, racking up 101 pitches (69 strikes) and rebounded after a brutal fourth inning to keep the Giants within striking distance.
The scoreline read a quality starts – six innings, three earned runs – but he allowed two unearned, too, and walked three.