Madison Bumgarner’s temper proved to be the San Francisco Giants’ undoing on Sunday.
The big left-hander’s allegedly-intentional beaning of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun in the sixth inning loaded the bases and led to a go-ahead grand slam by Jonathan Schoop.
That sent the Giants to a 6-3 loss — their eighth straight — and a sweep at the hands of a Brewers team that could provide a blueprint for how the Giants go about the rebuild that the front office won’t call a rebuild.
Milwaukee’s mix of talented youngsters and veteran trade acquisitions looked something like the Giants of prior years, with energy, clutch hitting and a lights-out bullpen. Much of that team was compiled through a window not unlike the one the present-day Giants are in, when a middling Brewers team sold off pieces, stocked the farm and prepared for a future that quickly arrived.
One of the reasons that future came to be was on the mound Sunday. Zach Davies, acquired from the Baltimore Orioles at the 2015 trade deadline in a trade for outfielder Gerardo Parra, won 17 games in 2017, and though he’s been on the shelf much of the year with rotator cuff irritation, he’s averaged 5 1/3 innings per start this season, with 7.1 strikeouts per nine innings
Davies did allow a leadoff homer to Gregor Blanco and a second run on a fifth-inning Blanco sacrifice fly, but allowing two runs over five innings is more than sufficient with the bullpen that backs up the Brewers’ rotation.
St. Mary’s product Corbin Burnes pitched the sixth and got the win after Schoop’s grand slam. Though Joakim Soria allowed a run for the second straight day, Corey Knebel — who was previously demoted from the closer role — got a four-out save with both Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader overworked.
Braun had been the offensive sparkplug for Milwaukee (82-62) in the early innings, stinging an RBI double off Bumgarner in the first and lining out on a hard-hit ball in the fourth. That seemed to get under Bumgarner’s skin, and he hit Braun to load the bases in the sixth. Braun initiated conversation, and Bumgarner appeared to be welcoming of the challenge. Benches cleared and the ensuing argument led to the ejections of Brewers manager Craig Counsell and pitcher Wade Miley and catcher Jacob Nottingham — neither of whom were in the game.
Bumgarner has been absolutely dealing and appeared to be leading the Giants out of their skid before the dust-up. A two-out walk to Christian Yelich and a Jesus Aguilar single were the first baserunners he had allowed since the opening inning, snapping a string of 15 straight batters retired.
After players returned to their benches, Schoop hit the go-ahead slam, with the entire Brewers team celebrating on the field front of their dugout. It was undoubtedly their biggest celebration against the Giants since Prince Fielder’s bowling ball celebration in 2009.
To make matters worse for San Francisco (68-76), the Giants also lost Ryder Jones — who homered on Saturday — to a season-ending dislocated kneecap. Jones injured himself as he fouled a pitch off in the fifth inning.