Back on top: Guillen hits grand slam in Giants’ 9-2 win.
SAN FRANCISCO – Jose Guillen stood in front of his locker and grinned.
“I guess I’m officially a Giant now,” he said. “I finally did something when it counted.”
He sure did!
Guillen hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, Barry Zito won for the first time in two months and the San Francisco Giants regained first place in the NL West with a 9-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday.
After a loss Saturday to fall behind San Diego in the West, the Giants moved a 1/2-game up on the Padres, who lost to St. Louis 4-1.
“Nothing comes easy from this point on,” Guillen said. “You have to be smart, go hard and do whatever it takes to win games.”
Zito (9-13) pitched six solid innings to end a career-worst nine-game losing streak and record a victory for the first time since July 16. He gave up two runs and three hits, walking one and striking out three.
“The last couple of starts the team lost but personally I felt better than I have previously,” Zito said. “I was building off those. After the four-spot it’s up to me and not take anything for granted.”
Ryan Braun hit a two-run homer for the Brewers, who were officially eliminated from the NL Central division race. Braun also robbed Cody Ross of a home run in the first inning, reaching over the fence to pull back his drive.
“It was right down the line,” Braun said. “I didn’t think I had a chance at it. I was pretty excited to come back with it. It was well over the fence.”
Pat Burrell hit a three-run homer in the seventh and Guillen added a two-run single in the fifth.
“The main thing was finding my consistency,” Guillen said. “The last few days I’ve been able to find it. Everything is clicking at the right time.”
Guillen’s first-inning grand slam off Chris Narveson (11-8) was the fifth of his career and first since June 2008.
“Braun was one of the best catches I’ve seen,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That could have been disheartening. You appreciate the catch but I was disappointed because that was a run. That’s not a great way to start a game after two tough losses and we’ve been having trouble scoring runs. Guillen gave us a lift right away.”
Ross led off the game with a drive to left that Braun caught above the wall. Freddy Sanchez then singled, Aubrey Huff flew out, Buster Posey doubled and Burrell walked ahead of Guillen.
Zito, meanwhile, breezed through 5 2-3 innings, retiring 16 of 18 before giving up Corey Hart’s single and Braun’s 23rd home run of the season.
“It seems like his arm angle was a little bit different,” Braun said. “He had more movement on all his pitches and late life on everything. He’s throwing the ball better than his record would indicate.”
Santiago Casilla got four outs. Chris Ray completed the eighth before Javier Lopez struck out Prince Fielder to start the ninth. Guillermo Mota finished for the victory.
Guillen, acquired from the Kansas City Royals, has been among the Giants’ hottest hitters of late. He’s batting .305 since joining the Giants on Aug. 13 and is 7 for 13 over his past four games.
Posey, who was 2 for 2 with three walks, has hit safely in 11 of his last 15 games.
Narveson lost for the first time since July 28, giving up six runs and four hits over 4 2-3 innings. He walked four and struck out one. Narveson was 3-0 in his last eight decisions.
“Giving up a four-spot to them in the first inning was rough,” Brewers’ manager Ken Macha said. “Zito had command of his pitches.”
NOTES: Giants INF Edgar Renteria missed his second game with a sore right elbow. … Bochy said LHP Jonathan Sanchez would delay a scheduled bullpen session in case of an emergency need for a reliever. … The Giants recorded their 26th sellout of the season with an announced crowd of 41,113. … Brewers’ OF Lorenzo Cain was in the starting lineup for the first time since he reported late to the ballpark last week. … Brewers RHP Trevor Hoffman has yet to pitch since recording his 600th save nearly two weeks ago. … Burrell was hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position before the home run. … Braun drove in his first runs against the Giants in 25 at-bats this year. … Guillen’s game-high for RBIs is seven. … Fielder was hitless in four at bats and fell to. 167 (3 for 18) on the roadtrip.