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What we learned as Giants lose to Brewers, fall behind LA

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Brewers score

SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time since May 30, the Giants are not a first place team.

A fourth straight quiet offensive game led to a 5-2 loss to the Brewers, who have taken the first three games of this matchup of National League contenders. The Giants have lost four straight and fell half a game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat the Atlanta Braves 4-3 at Dodger Stadium with an eighth-inning rally.

The Giants have had the best record in the NL for 108 days this season, but they now find themselves looking up at the preseason favorite to win the pennant. 

The Giants have been playing from behind for the last four days and they fell into that position again Wednesday when the Brewers got a pair off Kevin Gausman in the second. A Kris Bryant double and Buster Posey single tied the game in the fifth, but the Giants continued to sputter offensively and the Brewers went back ahead in the seventh.

Dominic Leone issued a walk with two outs and the Brewers got runners on the corners when Brandon Belt and Leone couldn't connect on a slow roller down the right side. Jose Alvarez came on and gave up a go-ahead single to Jace Peterson, who has absolutely killed the Giants this week. 

The Giants thought they had the game tied up in the eighth when LaMonte Wade Jr. hit a blast to deep right-center. Wade has been as clutch as any Giants this year, but the ball hit off the wall 402 feet from the plate and he ended up on second. According to Statcast, it would have been a homer in all 29 other ballparks. Brewers right-hander Jake Cousins tossed a few hangers up there the rest of the inning, but the Giants couldn't get Wade home. 

 

The pain got deeper a few minutes later when the Brewers tacked on a pair of insurance runs against John Brebbia. That was more than enough for closer Josh Hader. 

Back In New Colors

Brett Anderson lasted just 38 pitches. He took a 103 mph Brandon Crawford liner off his pitching shoulder in the second, and while he stayed in and got out of a jam, he didn't come back out of the visiting dugout. That left a lot of the early part of this game to Hunter Strickland, who has pitched well in Milwaukee. 

Strickland got through two shutout innings, striking out a pair while allowing a hit. He got Buster Posey to line out to left to end his first frame and the two seemed to exchange pleasantries as Strickland walked off the field. The outing lowered Strickland's ERA to 2.52.

Mostly-Good Gaus

Gausman's first inning was as dominant as any he has had all year. He struck out the side, with Jace Peterson, Willy Adames and Christian Yelich waving weakly at nasty splitters. It looked like the Gausman who was a leading Cy Young candidate in the first half, and then something changed.

Gausman gave up a pair in the second on three singles and a walk. He all of a sudden looked like the pitcher who has struggled to find consistency since the All-Star break. And then just like that, he switched back. 

Gausman's final three innings weren't as sharp as the first, but he pitched well, finishing with five innings of four-hit ball. He struck out seven Brewers and got 14 swinging strikes. It had to be a maddening night for Gausman, who had some serious swagger going as he bounced off the mound in the first inning. 

Coming Up Klutch

The Giants scored just three runs while losing the three previous games and repeatedly wasted opportunities early in Wednesday's game. Bryant brought them to life, though. 

Alex Dickerson hit a pinch-hit double in the fifth and Bryant got them on the board by smoking a good 97 mph fastball the other way for his 199th career double. It was Bryant's eighth double in 25 games since the trade and raised his OPS above .900 as a Giant.

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