MILWAUKEE (AP) — Rarely used, Blake Lalli quickly showed he was totally prepared.
On the first pitch, the pinch-hitter lifted a long single in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the San Francisco Giants 4-3.
“He was in looking at videos, he was looking at the pitcher throw and he knew what he wanted to do with the first pitch,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “Lalli is a very smart guy. He knew what he wanted to do in that situation.”
With the score tied, one out and the outfielders playing in, Lalli stepped to the plate for just the sixth time this season.
Lalli lofted a deep fly ball well over the head of left fielder Gregor Blanco for his first hit of 2013. Milwaukee extended its longest winning streak this year to three.
“That was fun,” said Lalli, who had two hits and two RBIs in six games last year while making his major league debut with the Cubs. “If you come off the bench, that’s a situation you want to be in — having a chance to win the game. He’s an aggressive pitcher, so, yeah, I was definitely looking to swing early.”
Jonathan Lucroy singled to start the Brewers’ ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Josh Prince. After Alex Gonzalez popped out on his sacrifice bunt attempt, Carlos Gomez hit a grounder in the hole. Shortstop Brandon Crawford ran to his right to field it, but his throw to first was wide, allowing the runners to advance to second and third — it was scored an infield hit and an error.
“Looking back, I think I would’ve had him with a good throw,” Crawford said. “So if it happened again, I’d try to get the out at first.”
With the speedy Gomez trying to beat out the infield single, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said it would be hard to resist the temptation of holding the ball and not making a risky throw.
Bochy saw the play a little differently than Crawford.
“I’m sure he realizes now, the way he runs, he didn’t have a shot there. He’s so good over there though. Occasionally we’re going to make mistakes. A tough time to make one, obviously, but he’s as good as there is there at short.”
Yuniesky Betancourt was then intentionally walked by Santiago Casilla (1-1), loading the bases for Lalli.
Jim Henderson (2-0) pitched the ninth and got Crawford to fly out with Blanco on second base.
Hunter Pence drove in two runs for the Giants and Betancourt did the same for the Brewers.
Brewers starter Kyle Lohse did not allow a hit through the first five innings as Milwaukee built a 3-0 lead.
San Francisco used five singles to score three times in the sixth.
Crawford led off with a solid line drive to right field to break up Lohse’s no-hit bid. After a sacrifice by pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, Angel Pagan hit an RBI single.
Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval also singled to load the bases for Buster Posey. He struck out, but Pence followed with a two-run single just past diving shortstop Jean Segura into center to make it 3-all.
Lohse got out of the jam by getting Brandon Belt to fly out. Lohse retired the first 14 batters he faced and wound up going seven innings.
“I felt good,” Lohse said. “Just kind of ran into trouble that one inning and couldn’t get the put-away pitch. I had several guys on the ropes and just couldn’t execute the one pitch to get out of it. Overall, I felt really good.”
Vogelsong started out strong on the mound as well, allowing just one hit in the first four innings. Betancourt led off the third with a homer to left-center field, one day after hitting a grand slam in a 10-8 victory over San Francisco.
Milwaukee increased its lead to 3-0 in the fifth thanks to a run-scoring triple by Gomez and a sacrifice fly by Betancourt.
“I felt a lot better today,” Vogelsong said, “but still not perfect.”
NOTES: Sandoval and Crawford each extended their hitting streaks to 10 games. ... Lohse was with St. Louis last season when he allowed six hits and five runs in only two innings of a 9-0 loss to the Giants in Game 7 of the NL championship series. ... Before the game, San Francisco put LHP Jeremy Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. RHP Jean Machi was recalled from Triple-A Fresno to take his place. ... Yovani Gallardo, who was arrested on a drunken driving charge early Tuesday morning, pitches for Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon.