Giants work around Melancon blown save to beat Brewers

San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon stepped to the mound in the bottom of the ninth, protecting a two-run lead.

Eric Sogard led off with a home run, before Melancon allowed a walk, ground-rule double that lodged under the wall and a single on consecutive at-bats. Suddenly, the Giants’ lead was gone.

But, fortunately for manager Bruce Bochy’s team, Melancon wasn’t the worst reliever to toe the rubber on Thursday.

That title would go to Jacob Barnes, who allowed five-straight hits and three runs without recording an out in the 10th. Derek Law worked around an infield single in the bottom half of the frame to ensure a 9-5 Giants victory.

Afterward, Bochy was pleased with the result and what it could mean for his club.

“We’ve had some tough times and we give up a two-run lead there in the ninth and find a way to win the ball game,” Bochy said. “You keep doing that and we’ll get this turned around.”

The extra-inning rally was made possible by a successful hit-and-run as Gorkys Hernandez and Kelby Tomlinson avoided a sure double play. Hunter Pence followed with an RBI single. Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez followed with big hits of their own so the Giants could split their four-game series at Miller Park.

Johnny Cueto started the game for San Francisco and wasn’t particularly sharp, walking four batters and lasting just five innings despite throwing 106 pitches. But the Giants lineup was prepared to keep them in the game as they tagged Brewers starter Paolo Espino and reliever Wily Peralta with a combined five earned runs.

In the fourth, rookie Austin Slater hit his first big-league home run — a 456-foot blast.

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