MILWAUKEE (AP) — Pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 on Sunday to take two of three in the series between division leaders.
Brandon Belt had tied it in the seventh with a two-run pinch-hit homer off Daniel Norris.
La Stella’s single up the middle off Brad Boxberger (4-3) in the eighth scored Brandon Crawford, who had punched a roller into left against the shift and legged it out for a double.
Belt also homered twice, including in the 11th inning, in the Giants’ 9-6 win Saturday. He has four home runs over three games since he came off the injured list Thursday.
“We ran into a hitter that just punished our mistakes in Brandon Belt,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Belt said that he takes the same approach whether he’s in the starting lineup or pinch hitting.
“I just want to have a good at-bat,” he said after his home run extended his career-long hit streak to 13 games. “Make sure I swing at strikes, don’t swing at balls. I just want to make sure that I’m seeing the pitch. I’m not out there guessing.”
Tony Watson (4-3) picked up the win for the Giants, who have the best record in the majors at 71-41. Zack Littell earned his first save of the season.
“It was one of the more challenging series of the year,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “In many ways, especially in this last game, we were a bit on fumes. Our bullpen was definitely on fumes.”
Reliever John Curtiss entered in the the sixth for Milwaukee starter Brett Anderson, who left with a 3-1 lead because of cramps in his left calf.
“It’s cramping. So, there’s no injury,” Counsell said.
Darin Ruf’s 13th homer opened the scoring for San Francisco in the first.
Giants starter Johnny Cueto retired the first 10 batters before he walked Christian Yelich and gave up a two-run homer to Omar Narváez in the fourth.
Jackie Bradley Jr. singled in the fifth, took second on Cueto’s errant pickoff throw and scored on Kolten Wong’s base hit to put the Brewers up 3-1.
Giants: Belt was in a pinch-hitting role because he’s coming back from right knee inflammation.
Brewers: Yelich was back in the starting lineup for the first time since July 25. He was out until Saturday because of COVID-19.
DAY-AFTER SCORING CHANGE
La Stella’s game-tying triple with two outs in the top of the ninth inning of Saturday’s night game has been ruled a three-base error on right fielder Avisaíl García. The change was announced Sunday morning.
The Brewers were one out away from a 2-1 victory when García misplayed La Stella’s drive. García tracked the fly until he was in front of the wall and then took a few steps to his right. He never gloved the ball as it caromed away, allowing Kris Bryant to score from first.
GIANTS ROSTER MOVES
The Giants reinstated RHP Kevin Gausman from the paternity list, recalled RHP John Brebbia from Triple-A Sacramento, optioned IF/OF Thairo Estrada to Sacramento and designated for assignment RHP Aaron Sanchez.
Giants: After Monday’s off day, Gausman (10-5, 2.31 ERA) faces the Arizona Diamondbacks and RHP Zach Gallen (1-6, 4.62).
Brewers: Freddy Peralta (8-3, 2.21) will start the opener of a series at the Chicago Cubs on Monday. The Cubs haven’t named their starter.