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Brewers batter Cobb, hold off Giants in series finale




Alex Cobb took the mound with the second-best earned run average in the National League and a chance to keep the Giants rolling. 

San Francisco had won 10 of its past 12 games and was on the precipice of sweeping a first-place team. 

With one of his worst starts of the year, Cobb didn’t do much to continue the momentum. 

Milwaukee scored more runs in the first inning than it had in the first three games of the series. Cobb, SF’s No. 2 starter, gave up a seven-run avalanche in the first two innings. 

Cobb allowed seven runs in four innings. Battling command issues the entire way, he walked four batters, hit another, threw a wild pitch and committed a balk. Blake Sabol and Mike Yastrzemski each homered, but the seven-run head start Cobb gave Milwaukee was too much for the Giants (27-25) to catch up from in a 7-5 loss. SF went 5-2 on its seven-game road trip.

Cobb’s velocity was normal, but the pinpoint control he normally pitches with evaded him. He issued an uncharacteristic amount of walks and struggled putting batters away. 

Four of the Brewers’ seven hits off Cobb came in two-strike counts. The most damaging one came in an 0-2 count in the second inning against William Contreras. 

Already trailing 5-0, Cobb teed up a slider that stayed middle-in. The Brewers catcher turned on it for a 417-foot booming home run with an exit velocity of 109.5. The hardest-hit ball of the game put Milwaukee up by seven.

All of the hits Cobb allowed, including the Contreras homer, came on pitches that stayed belt-high. He wasn’t locating where catcher Blake Sabol often set up. 

Cobb’s previous season-high for earned runs was three. The last time he allowed at least seven runs in a start was May 17 in Coors Field. Before that altitude game, it was April 20, 2019 – the year he required season-ending hip surgery. 

Before Sunday, Cobb held an ERA of 2.17. The 35-year-old pitched at least five innings in six of his previous seven starts. 

All seven of Milwaukee’s runs came in the first two innings against Cobb, forcing the Giants to play catch-up. 

Without Casey Schmitt (rest), Thairo Estrada (on IL with a left wrist sprain), Joc Pederson (thumb) and Austin Slater (hamstring), the Giants’ order was less menacing and deep as usual. 

Mike Yastrzemski cracked his first home run since returning from the injured list, but that cut just one run off MIL’s lead. 

But as Tristan Beck quieted the Brewers’ offense, the Giants rallied for more in the seventh. Michael Conforto and Mitch Haniger, the outfield pair that’s been lightning-hot this weekend, each singled to lead off the inning. 

Catcher Blake Sabol drove them both in with his sixth home run of the year, and Brandon Crawford and Brett Wisely tag-teamed for another score. 

Brewers right fielder Tyrone Taylor robbed what might’ve been a Wisley home run on that sacrifice fly, and then stole extra bases from Yastrzemski in the next inning. 

That pair of defensive plays prevented San Francisco from fully summiting a comeback. Cobb’s dud put them too far behind in the first place.