The San Francisco Giants are struggling at the plate, and that's especially true with runners in scoring position.
They may not need to produce much offense for Madison Bumgarner .
With the bats scuffling, Bumgarner looks to continue his dazzling stretch as the Giants face the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday night.
San Francisco (50-62) is hitting .243 while dropping 12 of its last 19 games, but the reigning World Series champion has a collective .209 average with runners in scoring position over that stretch.
It's been even worse of late, with the Giants batting .125 in the scenario while losing three of four.
Those offensive shortcomings were on display in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to Milwaukee, as the Giants stranded eight runners and went 1 for 9 with them in scoring position.
"We've been in position to win so many of these games. We've got to have somebody come through for us and that was missing again," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's running rampant right now throughout the lineup. It's hit us as a club as a whole and it's been here for a while."
San Francisco won 4-2 on Monday despite going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position to open this four-game series Monday, and Bumgarner (11-6, 2.69 ERA) could again help overcome those struggles.
The left-hander has allowed two or fewer earned runs while pitching at least seven innings in each of his last nine starts, the second-longest such streak in franchise history since records are available, behind the New York Giants' Ferdie Schupp 's 12 in 1916-17.
Bumgarner, though, battled through 112 pitches Friday, yielding one run with a season high-tying 11 strikeouts in seven innings of a 4-1 win at Tampa Bay.
"Any time you're able to battle through when you don't necessarily have the command you're used to having, it makes it a tougher kind of battle," Bumgarner said. "You're going to have games like that."
He's 3-1 with a 1.25 ERA in five career starts versus Milwaukee (48-65), winning the last two at home while yielding two runs in 14 2-3 innings.
Buster Posey is a lifetime .361 hitter with 17 RBIs in 17 career meetings with the Brewers after going 1 for 3 while being hit by a pitch Tuesday. However, he's batting .200 over the past 15 games while going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Milwaukee is expected to activate Marco Estrada (4-4, 5.32) from the disabled list and start him in place of Tom Gorzelanny , who injured his left elbow Friday when he was hit by a line drive in a 4-1 loss to Washington.
Estrada has been out since June 3 with a strained left hamstring, and he allowed nine runs and 14 hits in eight innings over three rehabilitation starts in the minors.
While the Brewers are at the bottom of the NL Central, the right-hander feels there's plenty at stake.
"My job," Estrada told the team's official website. "I mean, I don't see why it wouldn't be. It's been two months since I've pitched. I've got to show them I can still do it. I've been keeping up with guys and I see that everyone is pitching really well now. Obviously, I've got to fight for my job, and hopefully, they like what they see."
Estrada's only career start versus the Giants ended after one inning on May 23, 2012, when he injured his right hip running out a double.
|August 02, 2013||Tom Gorzelanny||Day-to-Day||Left elbow contusion|
|July 31, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||15-Day DL||Strained left hamstring|
|July 30, 2013||Yovani Gallardo||Day-to-Day||Left hamstring tightness|
|July 27, 2013||Jean Segura||Day-to-Day||Right forearm tightness|
|July 23, 2013||Donovan Hand||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised right hand|
|July 21, 2013||Carlos Gomez||Day-to-Day||Sore left elbow|
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 31, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||Day-to-Day||Bruised right heel|
|July 30, 2013||Buster Posey||Day-to-Day||Ill|
|July 29, 2013||Tony Abreu||15-Day DL||Left knee bursitis|
|July 25, 2013||Marco Scutaro||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|July 21, 2013||Jeremy Affeldt||15-Day DL||Strained left groin|
|July 09, 2013||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Strained right shoulder|
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Marco Estrada went from feeling funny to feeling good and it worked to his advantage.
Estrada pitched five strong innings, Norichika Aori drove in two runs, Khris Davis hit a home run and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the San Francisco Giants 6-1 on Wednesday night.
Estrada gave the Brewers more than they could expect in his first start in two months. The right-hander allowed a hit, did not walk anybody and struck out six.
"At first I felt a little weird out there," Estrada said. "As I got going I felt more comfortable. Overall, I thought it went pretty well."
Estrada was activated from the disabled list before the game to make the start in place of left-hander Tom Gorzelanny , who is still bothered by a sore elbow. Estrada had only a pair of rehab starts and his pitch count was limited. He retired his last 14 batters and 15 of 16 overall.
"His command was outstanding," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He kept his curve down in the zone and his fastball had life to it. For him, coming back after two starts and throwing only 2 2-3 innings, I thought it was really good."
Alfredo Figaro (2-3) pitched two innings to earn the win. Burke Badenhop and Michael Gonzalez each added a scoreless inning.
Jeff Bianchi and Martin Maldonado also drove in runs for the Brewers, who won their third in four games.
The Brewers did lose infielder and leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks to a strained left hamstring. He appeared to injure himself trying to beat out an infield grounder in the eighth.
"I took two or three steps out of the box and I felt a little pop," Weeks said.
Weeks added that he has never had hamstring problems before.
Buster Posey drove in a run for the Giants, who have lost four of five.
"I was working a lot during my bullpens and I was excited to be back out there," Estrada said. "I tried to stay relaxed and not show any emotion."
Davis made a shoestring catch on Posey's fly, saving at least one run and possibly avoiding a rally.
Madison Bumgarner (11-7) took a shutout into the eighth inning, but lost. He gave up four runs - three earned - on five hits in seven-plus innings. He walked three and struck out four.
"For whatever reason, we don't look like the same team we were last year," Bumgarner said. "There are things I could have done differently. There are things everyone could have done differently. It's been the same story all year."
The game was scoreless into the bottom of the seventh. Brandon Crawford walked and Brandon Belt singled to open the inning. After a passed ball, Posey hit a sacrifice fly.
The first four Brewers reached base against Bumgarner in eighth. They all scored.
Davis singled and Yuniesky Betancourt doubled to start the rally. Bianchi beat out an infield single to drive in one run and another came home when Bumgarner threw wildly past third on a bunt.
"We didn't do a whole lot against him," Roenicke said. "When you go up against a guy that good and win, it's a great game."
Santiago Casilla took over on the mound and got one out before Aoki's sharp single up the middle scored two.
It's the first time in 10 starts that Bumgarner allowed more than three runs while pitching at least seven innings.
Davis homered and Maldonado singled home a run against Barry Zito in the ninth.
NOTES: Gorzelanny (elbow contusion) threw a bullpen session and will likely make his next start on Saturday in Seattle. ... The Brewers sent IF Scooter Gennett to Triple-A Nashville to make room for Estrada. ... Giants OF Jeff Francoeur started in center field for the third time in his career. He made 176 starts there in the minors. ... Giants OF Gregor Blanco , .067 (3 for 45) since the All-Star break, will be given a day or two to clear his mind. "This will give him a chance to catch his breath," SF manager Bruce Bochy said.