Rewind: Giants at Brewers, Game 4

A bullpen implosion and the story of Noah Lowry's 2005 season: the big inning does him in again, and his relievers make matters worse in a strange 5-1 loss to wrap up their Midwest Swing.

Today’s match up of talented if unknown young left-handers in Milwaukee was supposed to be a great game to watch. Chris Capuano of the host Brewers leads the team with 11 wins, and with one of the best pick-off moves in the National League, you could be assured you’d see something good when watching this young man throw. Giants countered with their left-hander, Noah Lowry, who has numbers both indicative and deceptive of what he can really do. Coming into the game he collected 105 strikeouts against 51 walks, but with an ERA hovering around four and a half and a dismal 6-10 win/loss record. Giants fans know this kid is special, despite the desire to ask the real Mr. Lowry to please stand up.

The Capuano/Lowry match up stood up to its billing right away. Both pitchers were locked in early, not allowing a base runner with Lowry collecting at least one strikeout every inning, and Capuano’s defense working for him. They matched each other pitch for pitch until Brewer right-fielder Geoff Jenkins came up in the second and lined a single into left field. Lowry’s day wasn’t all about the strikeouts, as he had to work to cover first base on Capuano’s bunt in the third inning. San Francisco first baseman Lance Niekro flipped the ball high to Lowry as he ran to first. Fortunately Lowry is a good athlete, for he had to make a little leap into the air to snag the ball, save an error and record the putout. Good luck for the good friends, Lowry and Niekro. Capuano’s bid for perfection ended in the fourth with a walk to Niekro, and the only other blemishes on his gem came from a sixth-inning single by Marquis Grissom, playing right field while Moises Alou rests his twitchy hamstring, and later in the seventh inning.

One inning proved to be problematic for both starters, although the Giants undoubtedly wish their problems were the Brewers’ problems. Lowry started the sixth inning by ringing up leadoff man Brady Clark for his eighth strikeout of the afternoon. In an uncharacteristic loss of control, Lowry hit rookie second baseman Rickie Weeks with a pitch and followed that up by issuing back-to-back walks to sluggers Lyle Overbay and the monstrous Carlos Lee, who leads the league in runs batted in. With the bases loaded Lowry drilled Jenkins on the knee to force in a run. Third baseman Bill Hall stepped in and singled in another run, scoring Overbay. Lowry’s day was done following the two-run meltdown, and the bullpen provided no relief at all. Last Sunday’s starter Kevin Correia came in and walked catcher Damien Miller and hit shortstop JJ Hardy to charge another two earned runs to Lowry’s record and run the score up to 4-0. Thanks to a strikeout and a great grab on a liner smoked right to Edgardo Alfonzo at third, the damage was limited.

The seventh inning was Capuano’s trouble inning. Left-fielder Pedro Feliz got on via the walk and Edgardo Alfonzo brought him home with a single to left. Capuano shook it off to retire the next four hitters he faced. Correia appeared he would open it up for Milwaukee in the home half of the inning when he surrendered a double to Carlos Lee and walked Jenkins behind him, but the scoring threat was exterminated when Hall popped out to Durham to end the inning.

The Giants bullpen failed once again when Scott Munter pitched the eighth and allowed the first home run of his young career, a shot to deep right center off the bat of Miller. With the score 5-1 and Milwaukee pitching the story on the day, new closer Derrek Turnbow, once a refugee from the Angels organization, pitched the ninth in a non-save situation just to get the young man some work. He allowed a lone base hit, to Feliz, before Durham stepped up to kill the last hope the Giants have, grounding to second on the first pitch he saw. The Giants carry a series split home with them to face a team more dismal than they, the Colorado Rockies. That series begins Tuesday night, with Brett Tomko facing right-hander Jamey Wright.

SF Dugout Player of the Game:
Would it be blasphemous, or at least a little asinine, to select Noah Lowry? Despite the implosion in the sixth inning the lefty cruised through the Brewers lineup until his Achilles Heel, the big inning, came around to bite him again. Six of his losses this year have come due to the one inning where he can’t buy an out. His sub-par ERA doesn’t look right next to his strikeout numbers (now at 113 after today’s game) and walks-plus-hits-per-inning, a decent 1.44 figure. The Giants bats were silenced by Capuano and nothing else stood out for the team, so Lowry gets the nod.

Game notes: The newest member of the Giants family, outfielder Randy Winn will join the club when they return home to take on Colorado. Winn was traded last night for catcher Yorvit Torrealba and starter Jesse Foppert. It’s said Winn will be manager Felipe Alou’s everyday centerfielder and hit high in the lineup. Torrealba will get his first starting job in Seattle, and Foppert will begin his Mariners career in AAA Tacoma….The elder Alou opted to give son Moises a day off on getaway day, and with off-day at home Monday and a 7:05 start on Tuesday night, he has extra time to rest the hamstring….Due to throwing very well, Capuano didn’t have any base runners to play with, and few chances to show off his killer pick-off move. His motion is so different in the windup than in the stretch, and yet he looks the same when he’s going home or to first. Capuano threw to first only twice in the game….Lowry is 1-2 with a 1.75 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break thanks to two outings where he allowed nary an run.

Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 23rd season of fandom and first where she's had the honor to write for the Giants on Love/hate mail can be sent to, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.

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