MILWAUKEE -- Had the Brewers known beforehand that they would back Yovani Gallardo with 13 hits, they probably would've felt pretty confident about their chances Wednesday night against the Giants at Miller Park.
But Gallardo stumbled in a four-inning start in which he threw nearly as many balls as strikes, and 11 of Milwaukee's 13 hits were singles, meaning the team didn't produce enough offense to overcome his poor outing. Add the three eighth-inning runs surrendered by the scuffling bullpen and it was a losing formula for the Brewers, as they fell to San Francisco, 7-4.
"It definitely [stinks]. The past few starts, I think, everything was right in place," Gallardo said. "But you know what? That's how this game is. Sometimes there are certain things you can't explain. It's tough for the guys to come back after giving up three runs in the first inning. At that point you just want to not allow any more and try to get as deep as you can. I was battling the whole night."
The numbers for Gallardo, who was coming off two fantastic starts, weren't pretty. He allowed four runs over four innings with nine hits, four walks and two wild pitches. The four walks matched the total from all five of his July starts combined. The 16 2/3-inning scoreless streak that he entered with disappeared quickly when he allowed three first-inning runs.
Gallardo battled to allow only one more run over the next three innings, but he left the game having thrown only 47 of his 90 pitches for strikes.
"Lately he's been pretty good, so I don't know what happened today," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He really didn't have command over any of his pitches. It's just one of those days. I don't know what happened today."
The numbers for the offense were nearly as frustrating. Milwaukee stranded 10 on base and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. The team's two extra-base hits were solo home runs from Carlos Gomez and Khris Davis, which did little to cut into the Giants' lead.
The Brewers made plenty of hard contact, but it seemed each hard-hit ball ended up in a San Francisco glove.
"I liked the offense. I thought we did a real nice job," Roenicke said. "We squared up some balls that would have been really big for us if they had fallen in. We swung the bat well."
Despite the loss, the Brewers held their one game lead atop the National League Central with the Cardinals falling to the Red Sox, 2-1, in St. Louis.
The game began poorly for Milwaukee, but Gallardo got a break when a baserunning blunder by opposing pitcher Ryan Vogelsong took a run off the board and ended the top of the first with the bases loaded.
Despite the reprieve, things wouldn't get much better for Gallardo, who allowed another run on a Michael Morse RBI single in the fourth and was lifted after four innings.
"Ever since the first pitch of the game I wasn't able to [get in a rhythm]," Gallardo said. "It definitely doesn't help when you give up three runs in the first inning and your pitch count is already up there. It is just a matter of making pitches. Obviously the walks didn't help. That's the first time I've had that many walks in a while. It just shows how my rhythm and command wasn't there."
Marco Estrada came in and kept the Brewers at a 4-1 deficit with three innings of scoreless relief, but the offense never took advantage of an unimpressive Vogelsong, who allowed seven hits over six innings. The Brewers had baserunners in eight of the nine innings but only one hit with runners in scoring position, a two-run, two-out single from Aramis Ramirez in the seventh.
"I was fortunate to get out of it with one run," Vogelsong said. "It's a good lineup. They know what they're doing up there and they battle you."
Ultimately, the Brewers' bullpen buried the team's hopes, allowing three runs in the eighth inning. Brandon Kintzler gave up a leadoff single to Juan Perez, who scored on a single by Joe Panik. Tom Gorzelanny entered the game and allowed a two-run home run to Pablo Sandoval, punctuating another bad night for a struggling relief corps.
"When we're losing ballgames in the late innings, it's hard to keep going with guys who have really thrown a lot this year," Roenicke said. "I know it's a close ballgame, but we need Kintzler to get going, and Gorzelanny has done a nice job for us. I don't feel good bringing in [Zach] Duke, [Will] Smith, [Jeremy Jeffress]. I think Kintzler is going to need to get it going for us to use him late in games, and hopefully it clicks with some of them and we get it going again."
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.