The Giants offense exploded once again as they completed the sweep and trounced the Milwaukee Brewers 15-5.
Sunday started a bit differently than Madison Bumgarner’s last start, as the first batter of the game, Carlos Gomez, led off with an infield single and advanced to third on a single from Jonathan Lucroy. Ryan Braun’s 6-4-3 double play made it 1-0 Milwaukee in the first.
The Giants didn’t waste too much time tying the game, though. Pablo Sandoval continues to hit, and he led off the second with a triple before Andrew Susac delivered a two-out double to bring in Sandoval.
San Francisco didn’t stay tied for long. With one out in the third, Angel Pagan singled and Joe Panik walked before Hunter Pence extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI double. Pence’s streak is the longest in the National League and put the Giants on top 2-1. Sandoval delivered an RBI single, and Michael Morse crushed a sacrifice fly to right-center to make it 4-1.
And they weren’t done yet. With one out in the fifth, Pence blooped a hit between several Brewers players in shallow right and, with his hustle, ended up on second. It wouldn’t matter, though, as Sandoval launched his 15th home run of the year into the arcade in right field, making it 6-1. The giants third baseman is now 21-for-his-last-49 (.428) with six doubles, a triple, four homers, and 26 RBIs with runners in scoring position.
The black-and-orange offense added one more run against Kyle Lohse in the sixth when Susac led off with a single, and Brandon Crawford reached on a fielder’s choice. Crawford moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Bumgarner before Pagan delivered a two-out RBI single off the glove of Lucroy at first. That hit knocked Lohse out of the game after allowing seven runs, nine hits, and two walks in 5 2/3 innings.
All of that Giants offense was more than enough for Bumgarner (16-9), who gave San Francisco its seventh quality start of the homestand. For those of you keeping track, yes, that’s every game. The big lefty went six innings and gave up five hits, one run, one walk while striking out seven on 96 pitches, 63 strikes. Giants starters on the homestand allowed just six earned runs in 50 2/3 innings (1.07 ERA). They also struck out 57 while walking only seven. Yep, that’ll help the team go 6-1 on the week.
“It’s been incredible,” said Pence. “That’s the foundation to any kind of good stretch of playing good baseball. The foundation is starting pitching, defense, obviously a strong bullpen, but the starting pitching was so good we really didn’t see too much of the bullpen, so it was big. And it’s gonna be for any team that’s gonna do well in baseball.”
The Brewers picked up a late run when Martin Maldanado sent a solo shot into the bleachers against George Kontos in the top of the seventh. So, just for good measure, the Giants got that run – plus six more – back in the bottom of the inning.
Pence led off with a triple, Sandoval walked and, with Travis Ishikawa pinch-hitting, a wild pitch from Alfredo Figaro scored Pence. Ishikawa then knocked a single into right field before Susac brought home both runners with a double. Crawford worked a walk and an RBI double by Joaquin Arias made it 11-2. Panik – who’s battin .378 in August – delivered a two-out, two-RBI triple before Pence singled him home…in his second at-bat of the inning.
San Francisco added a 15th run in the bottom of the eighth when Ishikawa led off with a walk, Gregor Blanco doubled him to third, and he came in to score on a groundout by Crawford. Blanco’s double gave the Giants ten extra-base hits for the day, the most ever at AT&T Park.
The lone blemish on the day for the Giants was perhaps Tim Lincecum, who struggled in his 2014 bullpen debut. He pitched the final two innings of the game, allowing a solo shot to Braun in the eighth. He surrendered a lead-off double to Rickie Weeks in the ninth before hitting Maldanado with a pitch. A passed ball moved both runners into scoring position. Weeks scored on a single by Scooter Gennett, and Maldanado scored on a Gerardo Parra fielder’s choice. His final line was two innings of work, three hits, three runs, two unearned runs, and no walks or strikeouts. And it was about what Bruce Bochy expected.
“I thought his delivery was a little more balanced, more on line, but I thought he would be a little rusty. It’d be awhile since he’d been out there, but he got some work, he got some pitches under his belt. That’s good work for him. Now, if we need him in a little bit more stressful situation, I think he’ll be a little more comfortable.”
With the win on Sunday, the Giants have now won six in a row and went 6-1 on this homestand. They’ll head into Colorado for three and a half games (make up for a suspended game on May 22) just two-and-a-half games behind the Dodgers in the West. Bumgarner thinks they’re hitting their stride at the right time.
“It’s what you have to do to be a winning team. We’ve got a lot of guys here that know how to win and have done it before. I feel like we’re starting to play our best baseball of the year.”
And after this weekend, it’s hard to argue with that.