MILWAUKEE -- Jonathan Sanchez may only be 23 and a rookie in the big, bad scary world of Major League baseball, where hitters love to tee off against inexperienced opponents, showing no mercy. Sanchez would have his worst outing of the season, giving up eight hits and eight runs over only two-plus innings in San Francisco's 13-12 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Friday night. Sounds like the youngster could suffer from post-poor-pitching syndrome, his confidence shaken to the core, yet the left-hander realizes where he is in the pecking order.
And he understands why his changeup went awry against the Brewers, why his arm wasn't its usual vibrant self. Role switching, pure and simple. Relieving to starting, back to relieving, warming up in a game that never happened, then starting again. It's taken its toll over the past few weeks. "That's how you do -- when you're a rookie you have to do what they say," said Sanchez, forced into a starting role with the disintegration of starters Brad Hennessey and Jamey Wright. Sanchez made this start after throwing 40 pitches while warming up for Sunday's eventual rainout in St. Louis, then throwing 50 pitches with a sore arm in two innings vs. Colorado on Monday and obviously wasn't ready for Friday's outing. "If they tell me to relieve tomorrow, I'll do it," Sanchez said. "I think the last two outings -- in St. Louis I was ready to go, and the next day I was in relief, and I was sore. I didn't throw nothing until today.
"It's not easy," he said. "I had almost 100 pitches and then no bullpen before this game."The Giants tried to make it easy on Sanchez, scoring four runs in the opening frame against Milwaukee starter Doug Davis, but the Brewers roared into the lead with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Nothing like a 39-minute first frame to get the game rolling. "I thought when we scored four runs it wouldn't be easy, but I could win this game," said Sanchez. "When they [started] hitting, I thought, 'This is going to be a long game, no doubt about it.'" The three-hour, 33-minute contest would feature 31 hits, among them Barry Bonds' 733rd lifetime homer, tying the immortal Hank Aaron's National League record. Bonds would drive in six runs overall with the three-run blast and two doubles, tying teammate Pedro Feliz for the most RBIs in a game for the Giants this season, but the loss took the celebration away from Bonds. Ray Durham's solo homer in the eighth -- his 25th blast of the year -- put San Francisco up 12-10, and it appeared the Giants, who rallied from a 9-4 deficit, would win only their second game in the last seven. But the lead dissolved in the bottom half, with Vinnie Chulk blowing a save and losing his third game of the season by allowing a Bill Hall hit, walks to Geoff Jenkins and Jeff Cirillo and a bases-loaded infield hit to score Hall. Chulk left quickly and quietly after the game. Bench coach Ron Wotus, filling in for manager Felipe Alou, who was suspended for this game after Jamey Wright drilled Matt Holliday with a pitch in Colorado, wasn't happy with the result. But he liked the way San Francisco battled to the end. "That's the way it's been," he said. "To fall behind like we have, nobody quit and we had the lead going into the eighth and couldn't hold onto it. "Bonds had six RBIs and it was a good effort by everybody, but we just came up short," said Wotus, who felt confident that Chulk could keep the Brewers from scoring after Kevin Corriea allowed two runs. "The run that beat us was on a ground ball, and it found a seam," said Wotus. "If that's hit at somebody, it's a tie game right now. And if the game goes into extra innings, we're running out of pitchers."
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.