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Lalli knocks in winning run for Brewers

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Even with much of the Milwaukee Brewers' starting lineup slumping or injured, Blake Lalli was a most unlikely hero candidate.

But with the way things have gone for the Brewers this season, it shouldn't be surprising that Lalli, who just joined the team a week ago, came through with a pinch-hit, RBI single in the ninth to give Milwaukee a 4-3 victory Wednesday night over San Francisco.

"He was in looking at videos," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was looking at the pitcher throw, and he knew what he wanted to do with the first pitch. Lalli is a very smart guy. He knew what he wanted to do in that situation."

Lalli didn't take long, swinging at San Francisco right-hander Santiago Casilla's first offering and taking it opposite-field and over Gregor Blanco's head to drive in Jonathan Lucroy with the game-winning run.

"That one was fun," said Lalli. "If you come off the bench, that's a situation you want to be in -- having a chance to win the game. You have to be (aggressive), especially in that situation. He's an aggressive pitcher so, yeah, I was definitely looking to swing early."

Lalli's game-winner capped off a ninth-inning rally that started on Lucroy's single to left center. Alex Gonzalez botched a sac bunt attempt, popping out to Brandon Belt in foul territory, but Lucroy moved to second on Carlos Gomez's hit to shortstop. Both runners advanced when Brandon Crawford's throw to first sailed well past Belt. It put runners at second and third with only one out for Yuniesky Betancourt, who had homered earlier in the game.

Casillo gave Betancourt a free pass, loading the bases with the pitcher's spot due up. Roenicke had to decide between the left-handed-hitting Lalli and righty Martin Maldonado.

Roenicke said, "Are they going to let their right-hander pitch to our lefty or are they going to go to the bullpen and bring in the left-hander? Then we have a decision on whether we want to use two guys there."

When Bochy opted to leave Casillo in the game, Roenicke went with Lalli.

"He hit a fly ball," Bochy said. "He did what he was supposed to do. It was a good piece of hitting, but we put ourselves in a tight spot with the error."

Though he didn't get a decision, Brewers starter Kyle Lohse set the stage for his team's season-high third straight victory with a solid, seven-inning start. After retiring his first 14 batters, Lohse kept San Francisco hitless into the sixth, when Crawford sparked a rally with a hit to right.

The Giants singled four more times in the inning, tying the game at 3-3 before Lohse got Belt to fly out to center to end the inning.

Lohse worked through the seventh and turned the tie game over to his bullpen after allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

"You can't control certain things," said Lohse, who despite a 2.70 ERA has yet to earn a decision with Milwaukee. "I had control of it today; I just didn't execute that one inning. Those guys are paid to hit bad pitches, and that's what they did.

"There were a couple pitches that I would take back -- a couple changeups I didn't get on the outside corner like I wanted to -- but there were a couple that I put right where I wanted to and they dumped them in."

The Giants had their own fair share of good pitching, getting seven innings out of right-hander Ryan Vogelsang, who also allowed just three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and kept the top five of Milwaukee's order hitless in 12 at-bats.

"I felt a lot better today but still not perfect," Vogelsong said.

Betancourt put the Brewers on the board with a home run -- his second in as many games -- to lead off the third inning. It was the first hit of the day off Vogelsong.

After retiring the first 14 batters, Lohse saw his perfect start disappear with two outs in the fifth when he walked Belt. But Blanco flew out to left, ending the inning.

Milwaukee took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning. Gonzalez led off with a ground-rule double and scored on Gomez's triple to right. Gomez scored on Betancourt's fly to short right, and Lohse kept the inning going with a single up the middle. But Vogelsong escaped further trouble and Jean Segura grounded out to end the inning.

NOTES: Ryan Braun walked in his first two at-bats after striking out a career-high four times Tuesday against San Francisco ... The Giants had the second-best average in the National League coming into the game, batting .277 through 14 games. ... Milwaukee's Segura began the day hitting .415, tying him with Atlanta's Chris Johnson for first among all NL batters ... Brewers 1B Betancourt homered in the second inning, his second consecutive game with a home run. ... San Francisco has grounded into 17 double plays this season, the most in baseball ... Lohse's last outing against the Giants came in Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS. Lohse allowed five runs on six hits in just two innings as San Francisco won 9-0 to advance to the World Series.
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