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Late Saturday: Peavy flirts with no-hitter in Giants' 3-1 win over Brewers

SAN FRANCISCO — On a night when hard-hit balls were finding defenders, and vice versa, it took a floater to deny San Francisco Giants right-hander Jake Peavy a piece of history.

Peavy took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and then combined with three relievers on a four-hitter in a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.

The win was the fifth straight for the Giants (73-62), who clinched a series win against a team with a winning record for the first time since taking three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals from May 29 to June 1.

It also allowed them to gain a game on the National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers (76-60) for the second night in row. The Dodgers’ lead is now 2 1/2 games.

“It’s really going to be exciting this month,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of a playoff race that includes a tight battle for wild-card spots. “It’s why you play the game.”

The Brewers (73-62) were beaten for the fourth time in five games and, while retaining their lead in the NL Central, lost ground to the second-place Cardinals (72-63) and third-place Pittsburgh Pirates (71-64).

Thanks to a brilliant defensive play by shortstop Brandon Crawford that ended the seventh inning, Peavy got within five outs of his first career no-hitter by retiring Brewers left fielder Khris Davis on a grounder to third to start the eighth.

But down two strikes in the count, first baseman Mark Reynolds blooped a broken-bat single into right field, ending Peavy’s bid.

“I wasn’t thinking that I got to get a hit to break up a no-hitter,” the veteran said. “I was just trying to get on base so we could score some runs.”

Peavy had good thoughts upon hearing the ball crack Reynolds’ bat.

“I knew he didn’t hit it very well. We got him to hit it the way we wanted him to hit it,” Peavy said.

 “Not every ball goes right at somebody.”

After striking out shortstop Jean Segura for his eighth of the game, Peavy was replaced by left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who promptly gave up a single to pinch-hitter Rickie Weeks to bring the potential tying run to the plate.

Bochy then went to his bullpen once again, and this time right-hander Sergio Romo was able to shut the door on the Brewers, striking out center fielder Carlos Gomez.

Closer Santiago Casilla gave up a run in the ninth inning on a leadoff double by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and an RBI single by right fielder Ryan Braun but then stranded the potential tying runs on the bases by getting Reynolds to ground to third with runners at first and second.

Castilla was credited with his 13th save.

“Anytime you can beat a team that’s in first place, you can feel good about your night,” Peavy said. “Just a total team effort.”

Peavy (3-4) won for the third time in his last four starts after he began his Giants career with three consecutive losses. He walked three and hit a batter in his 7 2/3 innings.

The 33-year-old hadn’t held any previous opponent scoreless this season in 26 starts, including 20 for the Boston Red Sox.

He benefited from some brilliant defense behind him, especially plays Crawford made to his right in the fifth inning and diving to his left to turn an apparent single into a double play in the seventh.

“It’s been fun,” Crawford said of a week in which Giants pitchers have allowed just five earned runs in six games. “It feels like playoff baseball. We’re playing against a good team, and our pitchers are pitching their butts off.”

The Giants gave Peavy all the offensive support he would need in a three-run fourth inning that was highlighted by first baseman Michael Morse’s two-run triple.

That was all the damage the Giants could do against Brewers right-hander Mike Fiers, who entered the game having won all four of his starts since being promoted from Triple-A Nashville earlier this month.

Fiers (4-2) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out nine.

“We’ve got to focus on winning,” Fiers said when asked if the Brewers feel pressured by the close competitors in the Central. “We just need to focus on what we need to do.”

Crawford and third baseman Pablo Sandoval had two singles apiece in the Giants’ 10-hit attack. Right fielder Hunter Pence ran his hitting streak to 12 games, tops in the NL, with a fourth-inning single.

Fiers, who hadn’t given up more than two runs or three hits in any of his previous four starts, was tagged for three runs and four hits in the fourth inning alone after he’d battled Peavy to a scoreless tie through 3 1/2 innings.

Sandoval and Pence got the uprising going with successive hits to open the inning, and both scored when Morse blasted his two-run double to the fence in center field.

Crawford, whose second-inning strikeout continued an 11-for-73 slump, made it 3-0 later in the inning with a single to right that scored Morse.

NOTES: The Giants’ five-game home winning streak matches their longest of the season. ... Giants RHP Jake Peavy took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He’d never previously gone longer than 6 1/3 hitless innings in his career. ... Peavy’s 2,000th career strikeout came against Brewers 3B Aramis Ramirez leading off the second inning. He joined C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon and teammate Tim Hudson as the only active pitchers to surpass the milestone. ... The Brewers’ four-game losing streak matches their season high. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke announced before the game that RHP Matt Garza will be reinstated from the disabled list Wednesday and start that day against the Chicago Cubs. Roenicke said he will use a six-man rotation next week. ... RHP Jimmy Nelson, one of the Brewers’ scheduled starters next week, was temporarily demoted to Class A Brevard County on Saturday to make room for an additional reliever, RHP Alfredo Figaro. Roenicke said the move was strictly procedural and Nelson will be recalled to make his scheduled start Monday against the Cubs. ... Giants RHP Yusmeiro Petit has been asked to donate his game cap from Thursday’s historic win over the Colorado Rockies to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Petit retired the first eight batters he faced Thursday, running his streak of consecutive batters retired to 46, a major-league record.

Late Saturday

San Francisco 3, Brewers 1

MIL    ab    r    h    bi    SF    ab    r    h    bi

Gomez cf    2    0    0    0    Pagan cf    4    0    1    0

Lucroy c    4    1    1    0    Panik 2b    4    0    1    0

Braun rf    4    0    1    1    Posey c    4    0    0    0

Ramirez 3b    3    0    0    0    Sndovl 3b    4    1    2    0

Gennett 2b    4    0    0    0    Pence rf    4    1    1    0

Davis lf    3    0    0    0    Morse 1b    3    1    1    2

Rynolds 1b    4    0    1    0    Ishikw 1b    1    0    1    0

Segura ss    2    0    0    0    Blanco lf    3    0    1    0

Fiers sp    1    0    0    0    Crwford ss    3    0    2    1

Overbay ph    0    0    0    0    Peavy sp    3    0    0    0

Weeks ph    1    0    1    0    Affeldt rp    0    0    0    0

Jffrss rp    0    0    0    0    Romo rp    0    0    0    0

                    Duffy ph    1    0    0    0

                    Casilla rp    0    0    0    0

Totals    28    1    4    1    Totals    34    3    10    3

Milwaukee     000 000 001 — 1

San Francisco     000 300 00x — 3

E—Fiers 1. LOB—San Francisco 9, Milwaukee 6. 2B—Lucroy (46), Morse (32). SB—B.Crawford (4). CS—C.Gomez (10).

    IP    H    R    ER    BB    SO

Milwaukee

Fiers L, 4-2    7    7    3    3    2    9

Jeffress    1    3    0    0    0    1

San Francisco

Peavy W, 3-4    7 X\c    1    0    0    3    8

Affeldt    0    1    0    0    0    0

Romo H, 6    Z\c    0    0    0    0    1

Casilla S, 13    1    2    1    1    0    0

Inherited runners-scored—Affeldt 1-0, Romo 2-0. HBP—K.Davis (by Casilla), Ar.Ramirez (by Peavy).

Umpires—Home, Dan Iassogna; First, Adam Hamari; Second, Quinn Wolcott; Third, Dale Scott.

T—2:57. A—41,397 (41,915)

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