MILWAUKEE -- Aubrey Huff requested and received Tuesday off from manager Bruce Bochy. After what he has done in the past 48 hours, not to mention all season, Huff deserves a break.
Huff went 3-for-4, scored a run and contributed a two-run single to a four-run seventh inning Monday that lifted the Giants to a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a four-game series.
It marked the second consecutive day in which Huff did virtually everything he could to try to help the Giants win. In Sunday's haunting 4-3, 15-inning loss, Huff obliterated Colorado second baseman Jonathan Herrera with a clean yet devastating takeout slide that enabled San Francisco to score the third and tying run in the eighth inning. He also lined a leadoff triple in the 13th inning but was stranded.
Huff, one of five Giants to play that entire game, delivered all the effort he could summon Monday.
"The whole game I was running on fumes," said Huff, who shares the team lead for games played (80) with Pablo Sandoval. "If I don't get [Tuesday] off, I'll be worthless until the All-Star break. I never felt that tired in a game in my life. By the fifth inning I was basically spent. Those 5 1/2 hours [Sunday] got to me."
A long-shot candidate to join the National League All-Star team as a substitute if a selectee is injured, Huff hiked his batting average to .294 and leads the Giants in home runs (15), RBIs (49), slugging percentage (.536) and on-base percentage (.380). He again demonstrated his production skills when it counted most against the Brewers.
With the score tied, 1-1, Buster Posey and Travis Ishikawa opened the Giants' big seventh by singling off Kameron Loe (0-1), who entered the game with a 0.93 ERA in 15 appearances. Pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria popped up a sacrifice-bunt attempt before Andres Torres walked on four pitches to load the bases.
Freddy Sanchez rapped a potential double-play grounder to shortstop Alcides Escobar, who fumbled the ball for a run-scoring error. Zach Braddock relieved Loe and yielded Huff's hit, which scored Ishikawa and Torres. Sanchez moved to third on Pat Burrell's fly to center and scored on a wild pitch.
Huff found a worthy adversary in Braddock, a hard-throwing rookie left-hander. Huff nearly struck out on a 2-2 slider on what he called a "panic swing" before lining his opposite-field single to left.
"He just pumped two heaters right by me, and I'm a pretty good fastball hitter," Huff said. "... I got lucky enough to just flip one off to the left."
None of this would have unfolded had Escobar cleanly handled Sanchez's grounder.
"I looked at the runner," Escobar said, acknowledging his mistake. "I think I had a chance for a double play."
Said Bochy, "We got a break, which we really haven't had a lot of."
Another opposite-field blow, Posey's third home run of the season, concluded the scoring in the eighth. As was the case with Huff, Posey's fortunes during his at-bat changed markedly from one swing to the next. Posey flailed at David Riske's 1-1 pitch and felt a locking sensation in his left wrist, which has been troubled by occasional inflammation since last year. Posey remained in the game and drove Riske's next delivery into the right-field seats.
The Giants' third victory in 13 games enabled them to gain a half-game on idle National League West-leading San Diego. San Francisco remained in fourth place, seven games behind the Padres.
"Pat Burrell told me before the game, 'Let's make up one game a week.' It makes sense," Huff related. "That way it doesn't seem so overwhelming."
To accomplish that comeback, the Giants will need continued improvement from Jonathan Sanchez (7-6), who didn't win his seventh game last year until Sept. 23. The left-hander lasted six innings and allowed Milwaukee's lone run despite surrendering five hits, walking six and flinging three wild pitches. The Brewers stranded nine runners against Sanchez, including five in scoring position.
Sanchez's poor control incensed Bochy, who typically visits pitchers only when he removes them. But he stalked to the mound to deliver a harsh fourth-inning message to Sanchez, who had fallen behind 1-0 on opposing pitcher Dave Bush after issuing his fifth walk.
"Obviously, [it] was time for a talk," Bochy said, declining to elaborate.
"He just went out there to give me a breather," Sanchez said.
Posey was equally nonchalant about Bochy's lecture.
"I would say it was encouraging," he said with a straight face. "It wasn't unpleasant."
But it was necessary, because Sanchez had lively stuff and was on the brink of wasting it.
"It's weird, because he won't locate for a stretch, and then he'll throw three pitches in a row right where he wants to throw them," Brewers right fielder Corey Hart said. "You can do that when you throw hard. He's got the kind of stuff where he could throw a no-hitter any day."