MILWAUKEE — Miller Park has not been particularly kind to Barry Zito, who took the mound Wednesday against Milwaukee with an 0-3 record and 7.22 ERA in six career starts in the Brewers’ home park.
Those numbers didn’t improve when Zito was tagged for eight runs over three innings in the Giants’ 8-5 loss to Milwaukee.
“It’s been weird at this yard,” Zito said. “I haven’t had many games where I felt like I was on my game.”
The Brewers jumped on Zito early, though the Giants’ porous defense helped contribute to the struggles. San Francisco entered the game atop the National League with 44 errors and committed two more in the first, as Milwaukee pushed six runs across the plate.
“When they give you an out, early in the game particularly, get the out,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We didn’t do that ... You mix in a couple of walks and a couple of errors and that’s six runs.”
Zito (3-2, 3.53) went 3-0 to Corey Hart before walking the Brewers’ leadoff hitter. Norichika Aoki reached on a sacrifice when Zito overthrew first baseman Brandon Belt. Ryan Braun drew a walk to load the bases and Aramis Ramirez followed with a bases-clearing double.
The Giants’ second error of the inning allowed Jonathan Lucroy to reach, and Zito followed by walking Rickie Weeks before getting Carlos Gomez to strike out and Cesar Izturis to ground out to second.
The final two runs, though, came at a steep price for Milwaukee (18-26). With two out and two on, starting pitcher Marco Estrada doubled but limped his way into second base. He left the game with a strained right hip flexor, leaving the Brewers’ bullpen to cover the final eight innings.
The Brewers’ bullpen covered seven innings Monday in a 14-inning loss to the Giants (23-21), and it appeared that the Giants might be able to fight their way back into the game. After Milwaukee added two more in the second on Lucroy’s fifth home run of the season, the Giants got three runs off Milwaukee left-hander Manny Parra.
Angel Pagan reached on a one-out infield single that Hart tried to field himself, diving but missing the tag as Pagan touched first base. Brandon Crawford followed with a single and just beat the throw to second when Melky Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice.
Hector Sanchez then ripped a bases-clearing double to left to make it an 8-3 game. An inning later, against reliever Kameron Loe, the Giants added two more on Crawford’s RBI single and Cabrera’s run-scoring double.
“That’s how you play the game,” Bochy said. “Those guys weren’t quitting.”
Loe came back and worked a scoreless fifth, and Jose Veras, Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford combined to hold San Francisco to just two hits while striking out six and issuing just one walk the rest of the way.
Notes: Giants infielder Ryan Theriot is expected to be activated from the disabled list today and likely will play second base. Second baseman Charlie Culberson was sent down to Triple-A Fresno after Wednesday’s game in anticipation of Theriot’s return. ... Giants catcher Buster Posey, who had RBIs in six consecutive games entering the day, pinch-hit in the eighth and drew a walk. ... Giants outfielder Angel Pagan has hit safely in 32 of his last 34 games. ... The Giants begin a four-game series at Miami today, while Milwaukee travels to face Arizona in a three-game set starting Friday.