MILWAUKEE -- A struggling Milwaukee Brewers offense found the perfect remedy Tuesday, snapping out of an early-season funk with a 10-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Miller Park.
Yuniesky Betancourt's third-inning grand slam capped an eight-run rally, and the Brewers held on despite blowing much of a six-run lead.
Left-hander Barry Zito bore the brunt of the damage for the Giants, continuing a career-long history of struggles in the Brewers' home park. He allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings, leaving him 0-5 with a 9.44 ERA in eight career starts at Milwaukee.
After a relatively smooth start, Zito got into trouble in the third, allowing a leadoff walk to pitcher Wily Peralta and hitting Norichika Aoki with a pitch. Jean Segura singled to load the bases, and after Ryan Braun struck out, Rickie Weeks hit a two-run double down the left field line.
"Huge hit for Rickie," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "After Braun strikes out there with the bases loaded, you get a little concerned, but a big hit by Rickie, and we opened it up."
Jonathan Lucroy hit a two-run single that scored Segura and Weeks, and Alex Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez followed with singles to load the bases for Betancourt.
Betancourt's blast gave Milwaukee a 9-3 lead and ended Zito's day. The left-hander gave up eight hits and two walks while striking out five.
"Baseball's kind of a strange game," said Zito, who had thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings to open the season. "I actually felt better tonight than I did my first two games. I have tip my cap to them for hitting my pitches."
Even with the Brewers' offensive outburst, the Giants wouldn't go away. The defending World Series champions took advantage of an erratic start by Peralta, who lasted just four-plus innings and struggled with both his velocity and command.
Staked to a six-run lead, Peralta surrendered a two-out, solo home run to Brandon Crawford in the fourth. The right-hander got into more trouble in the fifth inning, allowing a leadoff single to Angel Pagan and walking Marco Scutaro.
Pablo Sandoval followed with an RBI single up the middle, making it a 9-5 game, and Buster Posey drew a walk, loading the bases and ending Peralta's outing. He wound up charged with six runs (five earned) on seven hits with three walks and a strikeout.
"Just a couple pitches were breaking bad," Peralta said. "I just have to forget this one and get ready for the next one."
Mike Fiers came on and worked out of the inning, allowing an additional run on Brandon Belt's sacrifice fly that cut the lead to 9-6.
"I thought it had a good chance (to get over left fielder Braun's head)," said Belt, who went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and two RBIs. "I think we kind of expected it out of ourselves; there wasn't a doubt in anybody's mind that we could come back."
And the Giants almost did, tacking on another run in the sixth on a Sandoval sac fly. But the Brewers' bullpen, which has struggled this season, held on. Fiers, Brandon Kintzler, John Axford and Tom Gorzelanny bridged the gap between Peralta and interim closer Jim Henderson, who recorded his first save of the season despite a leadoff double by Posey and an RBI single from Belt in the ninth.
"We did a great job fighting back," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
"We just couldn't stop them in one inning, but our bullpen did a great job."
Giants relievers Chad Gaudin, Jose Mijares and George Kontos gave up just one run in a combined 6 1/3 innings.
NOTES: The Giants are expected to place LHP Jeremy Affeldt on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique. RHP Jean Michi likely will be called up from Triple-A Fresno. ... Betancourt's grand slam was the fifth of his career and his first since Aug. 21, 2010, when he was a member of the Kansas City Royals ... Sandoval went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and four RBIs, extending his hitting streak to nine games ... Milwaukee's Jean Segura has hit safely in five straight and 10 of his last 11 games. He went 2-for-5 and scored a run. ... Giants rookie Nick Noonan is 7-for-13 in his first eight major league games.