MILWAUKEE (AP) — Solid starting pitching and timely hitting have helped the San Francisco Giants get over a slow start in April to edge back toward the top of the NL West standings.
No starter has benefited more from the surge than Ryan Vogelsong.
The veteran right-hander escaped a couple of tough jams to allow one run in six innings, winning his third straight start, to help the Giants complete a three-game sweep in Milwaukee with a 3-1 victory Wednesday over the Brewers.
Vogelsong (4-2) ended a strong May by allowing six hits and striking out five. He’s 4-0 with a 1.14 ERA over 31 2-3 innings this month.
“Just location has been better,” Vogelsong said. “When I’m mechanically right, I can go out there and make pitches.”
Joe Panik hit a two-run homer in the fifth. The bullpen finished off the last-place Brewers with three hitless innings, capped by Santiago Casilla’s 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save.
The flight home promised to be relaxing after the second-place Giants went 5-2 to wrap up a seven-game road trip that also included a stop in Colorado.
“This is one of the toughest road trips I’ve been on,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I think we were only able to get on the field (for batting practice) twice, but these guys never complained and they came out ready to go every day.”
Both teams squandered numerous early scoring chances. The Giants stranded six runners through the first four innings, but they finally broke through on Panik’s shot to right for a 2-1 lead in the fifth off starter Mike Fiers (1-5).
Vogelsong allowed just Elian Herrera’s RBI single with two outs in the fourth. Milwaukee could have had a bigger inning if Khris Davis wasn’t thrown out at home after appearing to hesitate while breaking from third on a hard grounder to first by Adam Lind.
Davis ran on contact as ordered, manager Craig Counsell said. Losers of five straight and seven of eight, the Brewers are struggling again on offense in averaging barely three runs a game during the stretch.
“We have to create more opportunities, more opportunities with men in scoring position, men on base. Just pressure innings for the other team,” Counsell said.
Davis did provide a bright spot offensively with two triples.
After a single by Aramis Ramirez, Herrera followed with his one-bouncer through the hole into left to score Lind from third to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead with two outs in the fourth.
Martin Maldonado bounced out to end the inning with just a run in an inning that began with Davis’ second triple.
“To get that last out and keep them from scoring, I think that set the tone for the day and gave us some momentum going forward,” Vogelsong said.
DOING HIS JOB
Fiers pitched OK for having worked on three days’ rest in place of Wily Peralta (left oblique), who was placed on the 15-day disabled list this week. The right-hander allowed eight hits and had six strikeouts in five innings.
“I think he did exactly what we were looking for, really. He gave us a chance,” Counsell said.
Giants: RH starter Jake Peavy was scheduled to make the second start of a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday night for Triple-A Sacramento against Nashville. Peavy has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 18.
Brewers: C Jonathan Lucroy (broken toe) begins a rehab assignment on Thursday at Class A Brevard County. Lucroy, who has been sidelined since April 21, could return to the team on Monday in St. Louis. ... Counsell said that SS Luis Sardinas will see some time at second base with regular SS Jean Segura (broken pinky finger) expected to return from the disabled list on Friday.
Giants: RHP Chris Heston (4-3) makes his first career start against Atlanta when San Francisco returns home to start a four-game series against the Braves.
Brewers: A day off Thursday will give the team another day to figure out which starter will be called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Peralta’s spot over the long haul. Peralta could be out at least a month. RHP Jimmy Nelson (2-5) will start when Milwaukee opens a three-game series with visiting Arizona on Friday.