MILWAUKEE -- Ryan Klesko ran down the first-base line as soon as the ball left his bat, knowing he had smacked it hard. The Giants first baseman had worked the count full against Brewers closer Francisco Cordero, with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning. A hit would have rescued San Francisco from the jaws of defeat. "This game takes a little luck," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You need a break, too, occasionally, you know."
But such good fortune hasn't come too often for the Giants lately, and Monday evening's game turned out no differently. Klesko's hard grounder zipped right to Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder for the final out, dooming the Giants to a 5-4 defeat before 41,631 fans at Miller Park. The Giants have now lost five in a row and 17 of their last 23 games. Of the 17 losses, 12 of them have come by three runs or fewer, and six by just one run. "We just couldn't pull it out today," Klesko said ruefully. "That's the way it's kind of been going the last month, I guess, losing by one run. We can't get that extra run or two in." The Giants also stranded runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but they mounted their best scoring opportunity in the ninth. Omar Vizquel led off the inning by drawing a walk off Cordero with the Giants trailing by a run. Bochy called on pinch-hitter Luis Figueroa to bunt Vizquel over, but Figueroa's bunt rolled too close in front of the plate, and Milwaukee catcher Johnny Estrada delivered a perfect strike to second base to force out Vizquel. Ray Durham, who had entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch-hitter, then lined a ball into the left-center-field gap that likely would have scored a runner from second. Instead, San Francisco merely advanced the tying run to third base. "Anything could have changed the pace of the game," Klesko said. Leadoff hitter Dave Roberts then walked to load the bases with one out. San Francisco needed to put the ball in play to score the tying run, but Cordero struck out Randy Winn on a 98 mph fastball for the second out. Klesko then grounded out to Fielder, who had shaded close to the line. "We're just coming up short," Bochy said. "It's hard to explain what's going on, believe me. We're in this situation so many of these games where anything gets us a win. At this point, you'll take anything, a little blooper -- anything to get us over the hump." Cordero's save preserved a win for Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo (1-0), who was making his Major League debut. Gallardo allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings. Gallardo outdueled Giants starter Noah Lowry (6-6), who surrendered five runs in 5 2/3 innings. Lowry had worked into the seventh inning in nine of his first 13 starts this season, but Milwaukee knocked him out of the game early with nine hits -- the most the left-hander has allowed in a start this season. "I'm always disappointed when I don't go deep into the game or give our team the chance to win," Lowry said. "I put us in too big of a hole early. Those guys did a good job of battling back, but I gave them too much, too quick." The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the first inning with a Bengie Molina RBI single, but the Brewers charged right back in the bottom half of the frame when Fielder hit his National League-leading 26th home run, a two-run shot. Milwaukee tacked on another run in the second on Gallardo's RBI double, his first Major League hit. The Brewers then made it 5-1 with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. "[Lowry] has been doing a pretty good job of keeping his stuff down, and he just had a tough time getting it down tonight," Bochy said. "They hit some balls well there." The Giants didn't go quietly into the night, though, blasting their way back into the ballgame in the seventh inning. Pedro Feliz led off the inning with a solo shot to left, his 10th of the year. Three batters later, Durham smacked a two-run shot down the right-field line to bring San Francisco to within one run. The Giants then moved the tying run into scoring position when Roberts singled and advanced to second base on Brewers center fielder Bill Hall's error. But Winn flied out to center and Klesko struck out swinging to strand Roberts at second. San Francisco went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, after going 1-for-9 in those situations in Sunday's loss to the Red Sox. "We're getting the guys up there in the right situation," Bochy said. "We're just continuing to come up a little short here." Molina appeared shaken up when a foul tip in the third inning caught him flush on his right hand. X-rays after the game showed no broken bones, though. Molina suffered a bruise and is day-to-day.
Kelvin Ang is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.