Brewers 10, Giants 8: A strange day in Milwaukee

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito waits for a new ball as Milwaukee Brewers' Yuniesky Betancourt rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito waits for a new ball as Milwaukee Brewers’ Yuniesky Betancourt rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the third inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 16, 2013, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Barry Zito said Tuesday: “Baseball’s kind of a strange game.”

Yeah, Barry, we got that.

Zito came into Tuesday’s game against the Brewers have thrown 14 scoreless innings. He left Tuesday’s game with a 4.86 ERA.

The Brewers tagged Zito for nine earned runs in less than three innings of work, including eight runs in third inning alone.

Despite his now-inflated ERA, Zito still has the second-best ERA among Giants starters:

  1. Madison Bumgarner 1.77
  2. Barry Zito 4.86
  3. Tim Lincecum 5.63
  4. Matt Cain 5.94
  5. Ryan Vogelsong 7.15

Yikes! And the Giants are 9-5?

The Giants had won 16 consecutive games, including postseason, and 13 in a row in just regular-season games when Zito had started dating back to last August. But that streak is over.

Now the longest streak for Giants wins in games started by a particular pitcher during regular-season games belongs to Tim Lincecum, with four.

Yeah, strange.

Zito said that he actually felt better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts. And even after he got himself into trouble in the third, you thought it was possible that he might get himself out of the mess.

It all started with a single to the opposing pitcher, Wily Peralta. Then Zito hit Norichika Aoki — on a 1-2 pitch. Jean Segura hit a ball that Brandon Crawford was able to get to, but not able to corral. It went for an infield single and the bases were loaded.

Then Zito struck out Ryan Braun. After falling behind 2-0 to Rickie Weeks, Zito evened the count to 2-2. But Weeks worked the count full, then hooked a pitch right on the left-field line for a two-run double. Jonathan Lucroy’s single made to 5-3.

OK, no problem. The Giants have rallied before. They could do it again.

But Lucroy’s single was followed by one from Alex Gonzalez, and another from Carlos Gomez to load the bases again. Then came the big blow: a grand slam from Yuniesky Betancourt.

The Giants go to Milwaukee and get beat by Yuniesky Betancourt.

Strange.

Suddenly, it was 9-3 Brewers in the third.

And yet, the Giants weren’t out of it. So much so, that they would actually wind up regretting some missed opportunities.

Brandon Crawford’s home run in the fourth made it 9-4.

A Pablo Sandoval single in the fifth made it 9-5. The Giants loaded the bases with no outs, but could only add one more run on Brandon Belt’s sacrifice fly, even though it looked for a moment that the ball might sail over Braun’s head for a bases-clearing double. Instead, it was just 9-6 Brewers.

The Giants loaded the bases again in the sixth, this time with one out. But again, only got one run on a Sandoval sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to 9-7.

That’s the closest the Giants could get.

Now they find themselves 9-5 overall, and a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

The Rockies are now 10-4: 0-3 vs. the Giants and 10-1 against anyone but the Giants (actually it’s just the Pirates, Padres and Mets).

Yeah, it’s a strange game.

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