MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jesus Aguilar has cooled off some since the All-Star break, yet still brings in clutch runs.
Aguilar hit a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.
Aguilar sent a low, 0-1 pitch from Tony Watson into the gap in right-center field to score Curtis Granderson and Eric Thames. Hunter Strickland (3-5) started the seventh and walked the pinch-hitters. Watson took over one out later.
“In that situation, I was just trying to be aggressive in the strike zone,” Aguilar said. “The reports say he throws a lot of change ups, and I was waiting for that pitch.”
Aguilar’s heroics helped the Brewers push their wild-card lead to 1½ games over the St. Louis Cardinals, who lost 5-3 to the Detroit Tigers.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell couldn’t have been happier with his slugging first baseman.
“He did a nice job with what looked like a pretty good change up down and away from him,” Counsell said. “Went with it, beautiful swing.”
Josh Hader (5-1) worked two innings of scoreless relief and picked up the win. Joakim Soria pitched a perfect eighth, and Jeremy Jeffress handled the ninth, earning his ninth save.
Giants starter Derek Holland worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning. He caught Hernan Perez looking at a called third strike. Holland matched his season high with eight strikeouts for the fourth time this season. He walked five and allowed just two hits in six innings. Both hits came in the first: Lorenzo Cain had a base hit and, two outs later, Ryan Braun hit his 15th home run.
Alen Hanson tied it for the Giants, leading off the fifth with his eighth home run of the season.
Brewers starter Chase Anderson leads the National League with 29 home runs allowed. He scattered five hits in five innings, walked one and struck out five.
Anderson was in trouble in the fourth. He allowed consecutive singles to Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt, and the runners advanced on a wild pitch. Longoria scored on Chris Shaw’s grounder to first.
Giants: INF Brandon Crawford was available to pinch hit, but not much more. He returned to the lineup Monday against the Colorado Rockies after missing the previous three games with a sore left knee. He played Tuesday, but then sat out Wednesday’s game. Thursday was an off day. Manager Bruce Bochy listed him as day-to-day.
Brewers: C Manny Piña was back behind the plate after missing the three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. … RF Christian Yelich returned to the starting lineup after a scheduled day off Wednesday against the Cubs. He had a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of the Brewers’ 6-4 loss to Chicago.
The Giants have lost seven of their last eight games, including a season-high tying six straight losses, and fell a season-high six games under .500.
BOCHY, HUNDLEY EJECTED
Giants catcher Nick Hundley and manager Bruce Bochy were ejected in the ninth by home plate umpire Adam Hamari after arguing about the strike zone. Hundley had just been called out and had words with Hamari before being thrown out of the game. Bochy came out and added his own comments before getting tossed.
“That was probably one of the worst strike calls I’ve had on me in my career,” Hundley said. “Probably the most inconsistent strike zones that I’ve seen all year.”
It reached the boiling point for both.
“Yeah, it just built up,” Hundley said. “The frustration when bats get taken out of your hands especially close in a game, but both sides were upset. So, it wasn’t like it was one-sided.”
Bochy backed up his catcher after both were ejected for the second time this season.
“It was mounting up,” Bochy said of the building exasperation. “It was a rough night with some calls for us. That’s what that was. Total frustration. Losing another ballgame, that adds too it.”
Giants: RHP Chris Stratton (9-8, 4.90 ERA) makes his third start since being recalled Aug. 21. He is (1-1, 1.77 ERA) since returning from Double-A Richmond. It’s his second career outing against the Brewers.
Brewers: LHP Gio Gonzalez (7-11, 4.57 ERA) makes his 28th start of the season, third against the Giants and first for the Brewers who acquired him Aug. 31. He replaces RHP Junior Guerra (6-9, 4.27 ERA), who pitched himself out of the rotation.
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