MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jonathan Schoop responded to a tense situation in the biggest way possible.
Schoop hit a grand slam after Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, and Milwaukee beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 on Sunday, completing a series sweep and preserving the Brewers’ lead in the NL wild-card race.
Milwaukee moved within two games of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central heading into a three-game series at Chicago.
In the sixth, Madison Bumgarner hit Braun with his third of three consecutive pitches inside to load the bases with two outs. Brewers players came a couple of steps out of the dugout, and manager Craig Counsell was ejected by plate umpire Tom Hallion.
Schoop, who had struck out in his first-two at-bats, then drove a 2-1 pitch from Bumgarner (5-6) over the wall in left to make it 5-2. It was Schoop’s fourth homer since being acquired from Baltimore on July 31.
“I was a little bit mad, but I calmed myself down a little bit, don’t let the moment get me,” said Schoop, who had a slow start after his trade to Milwaukee but now has 10 RBIs in his last four games. “Just focus, breathe and calm myself down, so I could get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Bumgarner allowed a first-inning RBI double to Braun and then retired 15 straight before a two-out walk to Christian Yelich in the sixth. Jesus Aguliar singled to left, bringing up Braun. Bumgarner’s first pitch was high and inside, spinning Braun off the plate, and then he threw inside again, triggering a stare-down between batter and pitcher. He then plunked Braun with his third pitch.
“I don’t know if he thought I was trying to throw at him or what,” Bumgarner said. “The second pitch was right over the middle of the plate but just up, too much. He looked at me. I don’t know what he is thinking or not thinking, but that didn’t have any kind effect on what I’m trying to do out there.”
Milwaukee remained 2½ games ahead of St. Louis for the top wild card spot. The Brewers, who play their next 15 games within the division, completed a 5-1 homestand, including taking two of three from the Cubs.
“We’re looking forward to a fun series,” Counsell said. “We’re still behind. We’ve still got to try to put a dent in it and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
The Giants, who have lost a season-high eight straight, pulled within 5-3 in the eighth on Austin Slater’s RBI triple. Schoop added an RBI fielder’s choice for the Brewers in the bottom half.
Rookie reliever Corbin Burnes (4-0) struck out two of the four batters he faced in the sixth. Corey Knebel retired all four hitters he faced for his 15th save in 18 opportunities.
Bumgarner allowed five runs on six hits in six innings, striking out four and walking one.
San Francisco took a 2-1 lead in the fifth against Zach Davies on Gregor Blanco’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Davies allowed two runs on six hits in five innings.
Blanco opened the game with his second homer, sending a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall. Braun answered with a two-out RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center.
“Obviously, it was a good way for us to respond as a team,” Braun said of the sixth-inning rally. “For Schoopie to hit that grand slam was pretty cool, a cool moment for us. The intensity of the game was fun. I think it’s a good learning experience for everybody, to kind of control your emotions in a big situation and find a way to win the game.”
In addition to Counsell, Brewers left-hander Wade Miley and reserve catcher Jacob Nottingham were ejected from the dugout in the sixth after warnings were issued to both benches.
The Brewers recalled RHP Freddy Peralta and RHP Taylor Williams from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Both Peralta and Wiliams had been sent down on Aug. 30. Williams is 0-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 50 relief appearances with the Brewers this season. Peralta, who opened the season at Triple-A, is 6-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 14 starts with Milwaukee.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt, scratched from Saturday’s game with a sore right knee, was not in the starting lineup Sunday, but pinch-hit in the fifth after Ryder Jones injured his left knee while fouling off a pitch. Jones suffered a patellar dislocation, the Giants said. “Bizarre, trust me,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “It is unbelievable. ... I’ve seen it twice, and both times here. It is a freak accident. It is a shame. A kid getting the chance to play up here, takes a swing and does that.” Bochy said he assumed Jones was done for the year. Jones will get an MRI on Monday.
Giants: Rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (6-2, 2.41 ERA) makes his 16th start as San Francisco kicks off a six-game homestand on Monday against the Braves. Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his starts.
Brewers: Miley (3-2, 2.12) opens the three-game series on Monday against the Cubs. Since coming off the disabled list on July 12, Miley has allowed two earned runs or fewer in nine of 10 starts. He is 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in three career starts at Wrigley Field.