Madison Bumgarner back to form against Brewers, but San Francisco Giants give him no support

AT&T Park — As starter Madison Bumgarner seemed to demonstrate his shaky outing last weekend was an aberration, the San Francisco Giants didn’t do much to suggest their larger struggles over the past few weeks would stop anytime soon during a 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.

Bumgarner, who issued a career-high six walks against the Oakland A’s in his last start, allowed just one free pass to Milwaukee. He surrendered three runs in eight innings, but San Francisco’s lineup went flat after scoring an early run, managing just four hits after the second inning.

The Giants (52-53) have now lost five of their past six games and are 4 1/2 games out of the second National League Wild Card spot and 6 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West.

“We’re getting some great pitching,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “[Bumgarner] pitched a great game today. Induced a lot of ground balls, and then they scored a couple of cheap runs off him there. It’s up to this offense to get going. That’s the issue right now.”

San Francisco took the lead in the second inning when catcher Buster Posey provided a rare double — his second extra-base hit in 18 games — and shortstop Brandon Crawford brought him home with another double.

An offensive group without injured first baseman Brandon Belt couldn’t muster anything else, though, allowing Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson to settle in before getting overpowered by Brewers relievers over the final three innings.

Even with Belt gone, Bochy lamented how a lineup littered with former All-Stars has struggled so much lately. The Giants are hitting .236 as a team this month. Every additional game they fail to support the pitching staff adds urgency to the situation, Bochy said.

“You look at the lineup, and it’s a lineup that should be putting some more runs on the board,” Bochy said. “It’s got to happen now. We can’t keep saying that — there’s not enough baseball. The margin for error is getting smaller and smaller.”

Bumgarner allowed runs in each of his final three innings of work. Milwaukee left fielder Ryan Braun produced two of those RBIs, plating teammates with a sixth-inning groundout and eighth-inning single. Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia also had an RBI groundout in the seventh.

Still, it was a bounce back performance after a six-walk outing Bumgarner said was “so bad that you forget about it.” He didn’t consult video or question his mechanics after taking the loss against the A’s, believing that was a blip that would not repeat. Sure enough, he looked mostly back to normal on Friday.

The Giants had a chance to come back, down 3-1 with two outs in the eighth against hard-throwing right-hander Jeremy Jeffress. With the bases loaded, though, Posey grounded out to third base to end the inning. They went down in order in the ninth against closer Corey Knebel.

Given the current standings and the fact divisional foes are playing much better right now, Bochy and Bumgarner each stressed the urgency of San Francisco finding a solution soon.

“We’re in a win-now position,” Bochy said. “If we get this thing going, we can get right back in it.”

Dan Bernstein
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Dan Bernstein

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