The Milwaukee Brewers limped to the finish line of a 1-5 West Coast swing, losing their fifth straight game Sunday, a 15-5 thrashing at the hands of the San Francisco Giants, who completed a three-game sweep of the Crew.
In the process, the Brewers (73-63) head into September in a flat-footed tie atop the National League Central with the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Chicago Cubs Sunday 9-6. The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 3-2 to the Cincinnati Reds, remaining two games out of the division lead.
Adding injury to insult, All-Star center fielder Carlos Gomez left the game after striking out in the third inning, dropping the bat and exiting with a sore left wrist.
Gomez said he felt a “pop” in the wrist.
“When I do my follow-through normal, I always let go with one hand. And I got stuck and I felt a pop,” Gomez told MLB.com. “When I felt it pop, it was a shooting pain. I had X-rays, which were negative, so it might be a nerve kind of twisted. Today, we don’t think it’s something bad.”
Still, manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez is “doubtful” for Monday’s series opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
The Brewers got to Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner (16-9) early, but what looked to be a promising rally turned out to be just a single run.
Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy led off the game with back-to-back singles and the Crew had runners at the corners with no one out. But Ryan Braun bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, with Gomez scoring, and Aramis Ramirez rolled out to second to end the inning.
The Giants (74-62), who have won six straight, tied the game in the bottom of the second against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse (12-8) on an RBI double by Andrew Susac after a leadoff triple by Pablo Sandoval.
In the bottom of the fifth, Pence doubled with one out and Sandoval followed with a mammoth shot to right field for his 15th home run of the year and a 6-1 Giants lead.
An RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the sixth chased Lohse, who allowed seven runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings, walking two and striking out three. Zach Duke came on to get the final out in the sixth.
But the roof caved in on the Brewers in the bottom of the frame. Alfredo Figaro, recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday, started the inning and gave up a leadoff triple to Pence and walked Sandoval before a wild pitch scored Pence. After Travis Ishikawa singled, Figaro was yanked without retiring a batter.
Left-hander Will Smith would fare no better.
Smith finally recorded an out, but Susac lined his second double of the game to center to score two more runs, making it 11-2. Pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias doubled to left to score another run and move Brandon Crawford, who walked, over to third.
With two outs, Joe Panik continued the onslaught with a triple to right field that made it 13-2 and Pence’s RBI single off right-hander Brandon Kintzler, the third Brewer pitcher of the inning, increased the blowout to 14-2.
Figaro was charged with three runs on two hits and a walk, getting no one out, and Smith retired two hitters but was charged with four runs on three hits and a walk.
Ryan Braun hit his 18th homer of the year in the top of the eighth off right-hander Tim Lincecum, but the Giants got the run back on an RBI groundout by Crawford in the bottom of the frame.
The Brewers got two more off Lincecum in the ninth. Rickie Weeks led off with a double and Maldonado was hit by a pitch. After a fly out, a passed ball by Susac moved runners to second and third before pinch-hitter Scooter Gennett delivered an RBI single to center. Gerardo Parra—who replaced Gomez in the third—drove in the final run of the day with a ground ball.
Kintzler was charged with a run on two hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1.1 innings. The 15 runs matched a season-high allowed by the Brewers, who gave up the same amount in a 15-5 loss at Pittsburgh on June 6.
Ten of the Giants’ 16 hits were for extra bases, setting a new AT&T Park record.
Ramirez and Weeks each went 2-for-4 for Milwaukee, which did manage nine hits but was 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
By contrast, the Giants were 10-for-19 in those situations.
Pence was 4-for-5, Sandoval was 3-for-4 and Susac went 3-for-5.
In the three-game sweep, Brewers pitching was lit up for 29 earned runs on 45 hits—a staff ERA of 10.88 over the lost three days.
Looking ahead to September, the Brewers—who have had at least a share of first place in the division every day since April 5—have 14 home games and 12 road games remaining—all but four of them in teh division.
The Brewers have four more with the Cardinals at home, Sept. 4-7, and go to St. Louis for three games Sept. 16-18. Milwaukee visits Pittsburgh for their final three games of their season series Sept. 19-21.
The Crew also has six games remaining with the Reds (three home, three away) and with the Cubs (three home, three away) and host the Marlins for four from Sept. 8-11.
St. Louis has 12 home games remaining (three with the Pirates starting Monday, three with the Rockies Sept. 12-14, three with the Brewers Sept. 16-18 and three with the Reds Sept. 19-21). The Cardinals remaining road games are four at Milwaukee Sept. 4-7, four at Cincinnati Sept. 8-11, three at the Cubs Sept. 22-24 and three at Arizona Sept. 26-28.
The Brewers and Cubs open the series on Labor Day with an afternoon affair at 1:10 p.m. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson (2-5, 4.10 ERA) will be “recalled” from High-A Brevard County to make the start for the Brewers against right-hander Jacob Turner (4-8, 5.84 ERA).