Brewers complete season sweep of Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Right after Ryan Braun led the Brewers to an impressive win yet again, team management gave Milwaukee another tool to help in its quest for the playoffs.

The Brewers acquired second baseman Ray Durham from the other dugout.

Braun hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs, pitcher Manny Parra had an RBI single en route to winning his eighth straight decision and the Brewers completed a season sweep of the San Francisco Giants with a 7-4 victory Sunday.

“I think ownership and upper management have shown a commitment to winning and winning now, so it’s very exciting to us,” Braun said.

Corey Hart added a solo shot for the Brewers, who took all six meetings with the Giants this year and are off to a nice start after the All-Star break— seemingly poised to challenge the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals for the rest of the way in what is shaping up to be an entertaining NL Central race.

Milwaukee picked up Durham after the game from the Giants for two minor leaguers as the Brewers look to get back to the postseason for the first time since losing the 1982 World Series. The club won for the fifth time in six road games.

“It doesn’t make it any easier but every player’s dream is to be in a pennant race,” Durham said.

Milwaukee already made one of the biggest trades of the season, acquiring CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians before the All-Star break. The Brewers, who won their fourth straight, are three games back of first-place Chicago and one behind the Cardinals as they head to St. Louis.

But they got a scare in the ninth, when Jose Castillo hit a two-run double off Brian Shouse. Manager Ned Yost turned to closer Salomon Torres, who recorded the final out for his 17th save in 20 chances.

Tim Lincecum (11-3) struck out eight in his first start since missing last Tuesday’s All-Star game and being hospitalized in New York with the flu and dehydration. His 121 pitches were the second most of his career behind the 122 he threw on April 24 against the San Diego Padres.

Parra (9-2), the Brewers’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2007, struck out a career-high nine batters and pitched 7 2-3 innings for his longest career outing. He hasn’t lost since May 3, a span of 14 starts, but was coming off three straight no-decisions.

“With what CC does and Ben (Sheets), it just kind of ups the ante and makes you kind of want to taste the same thing that they are,” Parra said. “That’s a goal now, just to keep going deeper and deeper into games.”

The left-hander received a mound visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux after allowing back-to-back singles to start the eighth and was done two outs later following Aaron Rowand’s two-run double.

The Brewers’ starters have recorded hits in each of the last five games.

“We haven’t done that this century and I’m not even sure we did it last century,” manager Ned Yost said. “We’re playing a lot better on the road. I think we’re past all that. We’re just playing good baseball.”

The Giants are a majors-worst 17-30 at home, having won only four times in the last 18 games in their waterfront ballpark. They had three home wins in May and June and also three so far in July.

San Francisco was swept in a season series of more than three games for only the second time in franchise history. It also happened against the Montreal Expos in 2003.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean will probably be busy in the coming weeks working on other deals before the trading deadline.

“Milwaukee was aggressive in their pursuit of Ray,” Sabean said. “We will be as active as we can to make the transactions that present our younger players playing time.”

Hart hit his 16th homer of the year on a 3-2 pitch leading off the second— only the eighth clout surrendered by Lincecum this season. Lincecum gave up another to Braun and that was it for the hard-throwing right-hander. Braun added a two-run double in the ninth.

“I found my rhythm in the second inning,” Lincecum said. “I was fine. I felt I had all my usual energy back. I felt live, I felt good. The outcome wasn’t as good.”

The Brewers homered for the 16th straight game, matching the second-longest streak in franchise history. They also homered in 16 consecutive contests last year and connected in 19 in a row in 1996.

Lefty reliever Geno Espineli entered in the eighth and became the 12th Giants’ player this season to make his major league debut after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno. On his second pitch, Mike Cameron fouled the ball off and it bounced off the plate and hit him between the legs. Cameron fell to the ground in pain and stayed down for a couple of minutes but stayed in the game.

The promotion came five days after Espineli was named to the U.S. Olympic team, but he is now off the roster. Team USA must provide its final roster to the International Olympic Committee by July 26 and spokesman John Blundell of Major League Baseball said Sunday that Espineli would be replaced.

Notes

Giants INF Rich Aurilia returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with the flu. … OF Dave Roberts, coming off left knee surgery, is slated to rejoin the Giants as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday. … San Francisco C Bengie Molina celebrated his 34th birthday. … Former Giants manager Roger Craig threw out the ceremonial first pitch, receiving a standing ovation. … Fred Lewis was held out of the Giants’ lineup to rest his sore right foot, which has a large bunion that causes the left fielder pain. Eugenio Velez started in his place and committed one of San Francisco’s three errors.

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