Giants observations: Fourth straight win fueled by Alex Cobb's gem

What we learned as Cobb's gem paces Giants' fourth straight win originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- It took the Giants more than three weeks to win back-to-back games for the first time in 2023. Now it seems that all they do is go on streaks.

Alex Cobb pitched seven shutout innings, Thairo Estrada and Brett Wisely homered, and a patchwork group played strong defense, leading to a 4-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers that was the fourth straight and got the Giants (15-17) back to within two games of .500.

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The Giants won a second straight game for the first time on April 23 and then ran off three more. They followed that stretch with four straight losses, but have bounced back with another run of strong play.

Saturday's win was a now-familiar story, with the starting pitcher leading the way. Cobb's last appearance at home -- and in the United States -- was a 109-pitch shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals and he once again piled up the zeroes against the Brewers (18-15).

Cobb allowed just an infield single through three innings and worked around a leadoff single and a walk in the fourth. He cruised into the seventh on 97 pitches, with Taylor Rogers starting to get loose in the bullpen. Cobb gave up a leadoff single in the inning, but then threw a sinker with nearly 18 inches of horizontal movement that Owen Miller pounded to second for a double play. When Joey Wiemer flied out harmlessly to center, Cobb had a second straight brilliant outing at home.

The Brewers rallied in the ninth off John Brebbia, who walked two and gave up a hit while showing diminished velocity. But Camilo Doval entered and picked up his fourth save of the week.


What About Cobb?

If you take out the start at 7,349 feet in Mexico City, Cobb hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in an outing this season. His seven shutout innings lowered his ERA for the season to 2.01, which ranks seventh in the Majors and fourth in the National League. Cobb's low in his previous 11 seasons was 2.76, set in 2013 with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cobb's success has been in large part because of how he's buckling down in tight spots. He's holding opponents to a .167 average with runners in scoring position and he found a way out of his biggest jam Saturday. With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth, Cobb got Miller to bounce out to third baseman J.D. Davis.

Thairo's Time

Estrada muscled a hanging slider out to left in the third for his fifth of the year. He's on pace for 25 homers, which would match his total from his previous four seasons in the big leagues. Estrada hit 14 last year in a breakout season and looks poised to surpass his numbers in every way.

With the latest big day, his OPS is up to .907, which ranks 12th in the NL. He's batting .336, good for fourth. Estrada entered the day ranked seventh in the league in Wins Above Replacement (1.5). There's an increasingly strong chance that he's an All-Star in a couple of months.


A Wise Man

Rookie Brett Wisely stepped up for the first time with a .074 average, but Gabe Kapler has continued to run him out there because of his defense. Wisely has been strong at second, and flashed hints of spectacular, while also playing a good center field. In the sixth inning, he showed off with the glove:

As good as he has been defensively, Wisely will need to hit to stick, and he finally got the monkey off his back in the seventh. Tyson Miller threw a changeup down and in and Wisely blasted it to dead center for his first homer in the big leagues.

Wisely, who wears No. 70, is just the third Giant to hit a homer while wearing the number made famous by George Kontos. John Bowker did it in 2008 and David Villar did it last season.

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