Milwaukee Brewers reliever Matt Albers acknowledged he had to shake off jitters when he inherited a base-loaded, no-outs situation in a crucial spot Sunday.
“You just try to take a deep breath and make pitches,” the 36-year-old right-hander said. “You’re definitely thinking, ‘not a lot of room for error right there.’”
Albers allowed just one inherited runner to score in a key spot, and Eric Thames and Jesús Aguilar homered to help the Milwaukee Brewers avoid a three-game sweep with a 5-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Christian Yelich had two doubles, extending his season-high hitting streak to 13 games. The reigning NL MVP is batting .472 (25 for 53) with five homers over that stretch.
Albers (3-2) pitched the fifth for the win, working in relief of starter Chase Anderson, who gave up three runs in four-plus innings.
“Matt came in in a big spot, was able to limit the damage to just one run,” Yelich said. “With the bases loaded no outs you take that any time, consider that a victory.
“That was really the game right there. It was a big spot.”
Albers struck out Posey before giving up Brandon Belt’s sacrifice fly, which closed the Giants to within 4-3. He got Brandon Crawford to hit a pop up for the last out after walking Evan Longoria.
Albers, Junior Guerra, Jeremy Jeffress and Josh Hader combined for five shutout innings of two-hit ball in relief for the Brewers. Hader pitched a perfect two final innings, striking out three to get his 17th save in 18 chances.
“Our bullpen had a great game today,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Really good stuff. That was the game, the bullpen today was the game for sure, and they did a nice job.”
Thames’ homer, his 10th of the season, off Giants starter Jeff Samardzija (3-6) in the fifth gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Samardzija gave up four runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings. The 34-year-old threw 114 pitches.
Aguilar hit a pinch-hit homer off Giants reliever Derek Holland leading off the sixth to make it 5-3.
The Brewers took an early lead on RBI singles from Yasmani Grandal in the first and Ben Gamel in the second. The Giants tied it in the second, when Evan Longoria’s leadoff triple started a two-run inning.
Yelich’s double made it 3-2 in the fourth.
The Brewers had lost four of their previous five after winning straight.
The Giants had their season-high four-game winning streak snapped as they concluded their homestand at 5-3.
“We didn’t cash in enough,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “There was a lot of traffic out there and we couldn’t get the big hit.”
HOLE IN ONE
With two outs and Ben Gamel aboard in the top of the second, Yelich hit a drive to right that slipped through a small gap between the fencing doors in right field. The fluky play cost the Brewers a run with Gamel, who would have easily scored if the ball remained in play, held at third on the ground-rule double.
“It went through the wall, we obviously wish it didn’t go through the wall,” Yelich said. “Just one of those freak baseball plays.”
Brewers second baseman Mike Moustakas had one hit, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. … Belt was 0 for 3, ending his18-game on-base streak.
GIANTS: LHP Will Smith got an off day after pitching in four games in five days. Smith worked a 28-pitch ninth for his 18th save on Saturday.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (3-7, 5.74 ERA) will come off the injured list (lower back strain) to start Monday’s series opener in San Diego.
Giants: RHP Tyler Beede (0-2, 8.06) will make his first career start against the Dodgers in Monday’s series opener.