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COL@SF: Bumgarner fans 13, throws one-hit shutout

One surging National League playoff contender will wrap up a series against a slumping one Sunday at AT&T Park.

The Brewers are ice-cold and find themselves on the verge of a sweep at the hands of the Giants after losing, 3-1, Saturday. Their lead in the NL Central over St. Louis is down to just one game due to their four-game skid.

Meanwhile, San Francisco seems poised to, at the minimum, put a fright into the Dodgers in the race for the NL West title. Los Angeles' lead has shrunk to 2 1/2 games, thanks to the pressure the Giants have applied with five straight victories.

San Francisco's bats are heating up at the right time, which Brewers manager Ron Roenicke knows is at least half the battle.

"It is about timing," Roenicke said. "You think about, 'Why does an offense get hot?' It's hard to figure out.

"You would think it has to do with the [opposing] pitching staff, but it doesn't always. When a team is hot, it can really go in and beat up a good pitcher."

If the Brewers are to counter with an impressive offensive display of their own in the finale, they won't have to beat up on a good pitcher -- they'll have to beat a great one. Madison Bumgarner, who carried a perfect game into the eighth inning in his last start, will be on the mound for San Francisco.

"Bumgarner is really good," Roenicke said. "Sometimes I look at the numbers and then I'm watching him pitch thinking, 'How does anybody hit this guy?'

"When he is on, he is unbelievable."

Bumgarner is 15-9 this season with a 3.02 ERA. He's 5-6 with a 4.58 ERA at AT&T Park, but his home performances have improved recently. In six career starts against the Brewers, Bumgarner is 3-2 with a 1.67 ERA.

He's also just eight strikeouts away from reaching 200 for the first time in his career.

Milwaukee will turn to Kyle Lohse to stop the bleeding. He will be making his second start since an 11-day layoff because of an ankle injury.

Brewers: Garza to return at Wrigley
Matt Garza will rejoin the Milwaukee rotation Wednesday at Wrigley Field after a month-long absence due to a left rib-cage strain.

Instead of saying whose spot Garza will take, Roenicke suggested the Brewers may stick with six starting pitchers for at least one turn through the rotation in September. The team is at the start of 17 games in as many days and does not have a scheduled off-day until Sept. 15.

"If we do it for one time through, it works out pretty good," Roenicke said. "And it gives some guys six days' rest at the end. I still think we look good out there as far as physically, but at the end of the season you never know. So if an extra day helps, maybe we'll do it that way."

Giants: Panik boosting Giants offense
As rookie second baseman Joe Panik wraps up his month of August on Sunday, he'll hope the success he found this month carries over into the next.

The rookie entered Saturday hitting .391 (the Majors' third-best mark for the month) with a home run and eight RBIs this month, which has helped reinvigorate what had been an ailing offense and afforded manager Bruce Bochy more flexibility with his lineup.

After the second four-hit game of his career Friday, Panik said studying Buster Posey while in the Minors helped him develop his approach at the plate, which Bochy said Saturday afternoon is reminiscent of Posey's.

"Not a lot of movement, it's not a complicated swing," Bochy said. "They're quick to the ball, short to the ball, and they use the whole field.

"Since he got comfortable up here, he's been the player that he was down in Triple-A. Sometimes it takes players longer than others, but with Joe it just took a handful of days before you saw he belonged here."

Worth noting
• Giants outfielder Hunter Pence has a 12-game hitting streak, which is the longest active streak in the NL.

• Milwaukee snapped the Giants' streak of 10 straight games with a homer Saturday. It was San Francisco's second-longest such streak of the year. Comments