MILWAUKEE — Jonathan Schoop responded to a tense situation in the biggest way possible.
Schoop hit a grand slam after Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning, and Milwaukee beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 on Sunday, completing a series sweep and preserving the Brewers’ lead in the NL wild-card race.
Milwaukee moved within two games of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central heading into a three-game series at Chicago.
In the sixth, Madison Bumgarner hit Braun with his third of three consecutive pitches inside to load the bases with two outs. Brewers players came a couple of steps out of the dugout, and manager Craig Counsell was ejected by plate umpire Tom Hallion.
Schoop, who had struck out in his first-two at-bats, then drove a 2-1 pitch from Bumgarner (5-6) over the wall in left to make it 5-2. It was Schoop’s fourth homer since being acquired from Baltimore on July 31.
“I was a little bit mad, but I calmed myself down a little bit, don’t let the moment get me,” said Schoop, who had a slow start after his trade to Milwaukee but now has 10 RBIs in his past four games. “Just focus, breathe and calm myself down, so I could get a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”
Bumgarner allowed a first-inning RBI double to Braun and then retired 15 straight before a two-out walk to Christian Yelich in the sixth. Jesus Aguliar singled to left, bringing up Braun. Bumgarner’s first pitch was high and inside, spinning Braun off the plate, and then he threw inside again, triggering a stare-down between batter and pitcher. He then plunked Braun with his third pitch.
“I don’t know if he thought I was trying to throw at him or what,” Bumgarner said. “The second pitch was right over the middle of the plate but just up, too much. He looked at me. I don’t know what he is thinking or not thinking, but that didn’t have any kind effect on what I’m trying to do out there.”
Milwaukee remained 2½ games ahead of St. Louis for the top wild card spot. The Brewers, who play their next 15 games within the division, completed a 5-1 homestand, including taking two of three from the Cubs.
“We’re looking forward to a fun series,” Counsell said. “We’re still behind. We’ve still got to try to put a dent in it and that’s what we’ll try to do.”
The Giants, who have lost a season-high eight straight, pulled within 5-3 in the eighth on Austin Slater’s RBI triple. Schoop added an RBI fielder’s choice for the Brewers in the bottom half.
Rookie reliever Corbin Burnes (4-0) struck out two of the four batters he faced in the sixth. Corey Knebel retired all four hitters he faced for his 15th save in 18 opportunities.
Bumgarner allowed five runs on six hits in six innings, striking out four and walking one.
San Francisco took a 2-1 lead in the fifth against Zach Davies on Gregor Blanco’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Davies allowed two runs on six hits in five innings.
Blanco opened the game with his second homer, sending a 1-2 pitch over the right-field wall. Braun answered with a two-out RBI double off the top of the wall in left-center.