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Wilmer Flores scores on balk as Giants top Brewers

Jul 16, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb (38) pitches during the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Wilmer Flores was awarded home plate on a two-out balk called on Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jandel Gustave in the eighth inning Saturday night, giving the host San Francisco Giants what turned out to be the game-winning run in a 2-1 victory.

In a third straight nail-biter in a four-game series that began with a Brewers win in 10 innings and a Giants walk-off grand slam, San Francisco put two runners on base in the eighth against reliever Brent Suter (1-3) on one-out singles by Austin Slater and Flores.

After Darin Ruf, who had earlier homered, grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out, Gustave entered the game and promptly hit Evan Longoria, loading the bases.

Mike Yastrzemski, who hit the grand slam that ended Friday’s 8-5 thriller, was then called upon to pinch hit, and fell behind 1-2 before Gustave appeared to innocently step off the slab, wanting a new sign from catcher Omar Narvaez.

But home plate umpire Pat Hoberg detected something illegal about the movement and sent Flores home for the tiebreaking run.

Reliever John Brebbia (5-1), who got out of a jam in the top of the eighth when Jonathan Davis was thrown out stealing third base for the final out, was credited with the win.

Dominic Leone, whose errant pickoff throw had put Willy Adames on second base with no outs in the ninth, retired the final three batters he faced for his second save.

Given a 1-0 lead in the sixth when Ruf hit his second homer in as many days, Giants right-hander Alex Cobb took a three-hit shutout into the eighth. But Hunter Renfroe won a nine-pitch at-bat to start the inning, lining a double over the head of center fielder Slater.

Yastrzemski momentarily bobbled a carom off the wall, and Renfroe took off for third and made it safely.

Narvaez followed five pitches later with a sacrifice fly to left field, tying the score.

Cobb was pulled at that point, charged with one unearned run on four hits. In a season-best 7 1/3 innings, he struck out five and never issued a walk.

Brewers lefty Eric Lauer went seven innings, allowing one run on two hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

–Field Level Media