Milwaukee Brewers' Jandel Gustav reacts after being called for a balk against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

This time, it’s a bases-loaded balk that sinks the Brewers as they lose second straight to Giants

Milwaukee Brewers' Jandel Gustav reacts after being called for a balk against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

Milwaukee Brewers’ Jandel Gustav reacts after being called for a balk against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom half of the eighth inning.

SAN FRANCISCO – The Milwaukee Brewers keep coming up with terrible ways to lose ballgames.

A day after Josh Haider conceded six in the ninth inning, Jandel Gustav made a base-loaded balk with two outs in the eighth that proved to be the difference in a 2–1 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park.

“We had some tough ones here,” said Brent Sutter, who had placed eighth before Gustav’s appearance. “We’re trying our best to win. There’s some disappointment here, but nothing too crazy.

“We’ve lost two tough players one after the other. Try splitting the series tomorrow. Basically it’s the same.”

To draw 1–1 after scoring in the top of the eighth, Sutter (1–3) took over for starter Eric Lauer and allowed consecutive one-off singles.

After recording the second out, Suter was pulled in favor of former giant Gustav, who responded by hitting Ivan Longoria with his second pitch to load the base.

It brought Mike Yastrzemsky — the author of the walk-off Grand Slam that beat the Brewers on Friday — to the plate.

Gustav was 1-2 on the count when home-plate umpire Pat Hoberg ruled out a right-handed bulk, scoring Austin Slater.

Gustav eventually dismissed Yastrzemsky. Balck was the third of the season for the Brewers, and the first by a pitcher other than Lauer.

“The plate umpire saw a start and stop, and that’s basically what happened,” is how crew chief Bruce Drakeman described the play to a pool reporter. “It was largely a rulebook, textbook bald. Pretty cut and dry.”

When asked for further clarification about the play, Drakeman said: “It’s a start and a stop. When they start to bring their hands up, they can’t bring them up and are in the middle of their pitching delivery. Can stop in stroke. So, that’s what it is.

“They’re bringing their hands up and they stop, for the purpose of the rule.”

At the Brewers Clubhouse, it wasn’t nearly as cut and dry.

“Obviously they saw a bit of a jolt when he arrived,” said manager Craig Counsel. “Something that was not normal.”

Afterwards Suter and Gustave were in their locker watching a video on Suter’s phone.

“There’s not much there,” Sutter said. “But it’s slo-mo. Maybe something else they saw in live action. But in that case it’s a tough call.

“A 1-2 count, two out… Calling the balk is the ump’s right, but it’s definitely a hard way to lose.”

Willie Adams singled out to lead ninth and quickly moved to second on a wrong pickoff throw by Dominic Lyon, but Lyon retired Rowdy Tellez, Andrew McCutchen and Colton Wong to finish it.

Legendary right-hander Alex Cobb was dominant through seven innings, using his heavy sinker to generate 12 ground-ball outs while limiting the Brewers to three singles.

Milwaukee finally broke against him in the eighth, when Hunter Renfro went to the center with a drive that Slater read wrong. It dropped for a double and fell to third for Renfro Misqueue.

Up next, Omar Narvaez sent a sacrificial fly to the left, which allowed Renfro to tag and score, also drawing the Brewers and ending Cobb’s day after 99 pitches.

box score: Giants 2, Brewers 1

More: Yes, Josh Haider is struggling. But Craig Counsel is not pushing the panic button.

Christian Yelich Mid-Season Review: Yelich offers a candid analysis of how his (and the Brewers’ offense) season went

“His Velo is up a bit this year, which is helping him a lot on the outside,” Renfro said of Cobb. “The separator has always been there. It’s a good pitch. All of their pitches have great movement for them.

“They put us on a little fence there, hitting corners and painting and staying on the outer half. They did a good job.”

Jonathan Davies – who had already made the highlight reel in fifth by plundering Thiero Estrada with a diving catch in the center – then took a walk from John Brebia and promptly stole second with Christian Yelich coming on.

But, true to how things went late for the Brewers’ offense, Yelich pulled out and Davis was kicked out in an attempt to steal third place to leave the game 1–1.

Lauer played his part by restricting the Giants to just two hits in six innings, following the aggressive outburst of San Francisco’s ninth inning in Friday’s 8-5 loss.

The first, a two-out double by Estrada to left-center, was borderline as Yelich ran the ball down, but wasn’t quite able to reel it. Lauer chased David Willer after a walk, but trapped the pair after a flyout.

There was a big mistake with two outs in the sixth, when Roof – who was one of three Giants to homer Josh Haider the previous night – went up and received a fastball that was out of the zone and left it for the game. First run out.

Darin Roof of the San Francisco Giants swings and joins for a home run against Eric Lauer in the bottom of the sixth inning at Oracle Park on Saturday.

Darin Roof of the San Francisco Giants swings and joins for a home run against Eric Lauer in the bottom of the sixth inning at Oracle Park on Saturday.

“That was where we were trying to go with it, and he just got through,” Lauer said. “Sometimes, good hitters get a good pitch. We were trying to set something up there and he jumped on it.

“So, give him your hat.”

Lauer finished seventh to match the season’s lows with two hits allowed. He issued three walks – all to No. 7 hitter Villar – and scored four runs out.

His seven innings matched a season-high last hit against Washington on May 20, and his 108 pitches set a new high.

“I think it could have been better,” Lauer said. “I figured out well, but I didn’t feel like I had great things going all day. I felt like I was getting a little out of myself. I didn’t feel like Velo was necessarily there for what I was doing.” wanted to, but I was able to get some guys behind me to make some great plays and keep us in the ballgame.”

The Brewers announced after the game that Aaron Ashby and not Jason Alexander would start opposite right-hander Logan Webb in Sunday’s finale.

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This article was originally published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A Base-Loaded Balk Pisces the Brewers Against the Giants, This Time

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