For the first time all season, the San Francisco Giants used their sixth starting pitcher. After numerous poor performances by Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants brought up Triple A starter Ryan Sadowski to at-least temporarily take over the last spot in the rotation.
After losing the first two games of the series, the Giants were putting their hopes on the rookie to avoid the sweep.
In the top half of the first inning the Giants offense went down quickly, giving Sadowski little time to shake off the nerves going into his big league debut.
However, the young right-hander looked right at home on a big league mound from the first inning all the way through his sixth and final inning. Sadowski allowed no runs, just four hits (one of which should have been caught by Fred Lewis) three walks and two strikeouts.
Not only did the 26-year-old shut down a powerful Brewers lineup in his debut but the Giants gave him a three run cushion early on when they dropped a three spot on Milwaukee starter Jeff Suppan in the second inning.
Schierholtz led off the second with the first of his four hits, and Ishikawa drew a walk which set the table for Edgar Renteria.
Renteria proceeded to hit a ground rule double to left-center which would have scored both Schierholtz and Ishikawa if the Umpires had ruled Ishikawa would have scored if the ball had stayed in play.
Nevertheless, Ishikawa would score on Randy Winn's bases loaded walk and Renteria would come in on Fred Lewis' infield hit.
The early cushion was enough for Sadowski who went right after the Brewers hitters. The following half-inning, the rookie pitcher induced Milwaukee catcher Jason Kendall into a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play thanks to a nice diving stop by Pablo Sandoval.
In the third inning, Sadowski matched Brewers starter Jeff Supan's 1-2-3 inning with his first 1-2-3 inning when he retired Suppan, Gamel and Hardy for an extremely quick inning of work.
Not only did Sadowski get the victory in his first career start, but in the top of the fourth, he got himself a big league hit with a solid line drive single up the middle.
The Giants would fail to extend their lead in the fourth but Sadowski worked out of a jam to complete the inning with the three run lead still intact.
After Prince Fielder hit a one out single to right field, Fred Lewis made another boneheaded play in left field. Casey McGehee hit a line drive that Lewis had to run back on but was there in plenty of time and the ball rattled around in his glove before hideously falling to the ground.
However, luckily for the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez wasn't on the mound. Numerous times this season saw the Giants pitcher lose his cool when poor defense is played behind him but this time around, Sadowski kept calm and worked out of the jam.
Mike Cameron rolled over to third and Pablo threw home to prevent Fielder from scoring and he later tagged Fielder out in the run-down. There were now two outs for Corey Hart who hit a weak fly ball to left-field that Randy Winn caught to end the inning.
In the fifth, the Giants extended their lead to 4-0 on consecutive hits. Pablo Sandoval hit a one out double off the wall in right-center and Nate Schierholtz followed with an infield hit that would have drove in Sandoval if it weren't for a great diving play by J.J. Hardy at shortstop.
It didn't matter however, as Ishikawa lined a single up the middle for the third straight hit in the inning, scoring Sandoval.
The bottom of the inning saw Sadowski surrender a two-out walk but he managed to induce three ground balls outs in the inning with his two-seam sinking fastball that was working all afternoon.
San Francisco would once again add to their lead the following inning when Matt Downs led off with a big, big fly to left-field to lead off the inning. The recently called up second baseman had been struggling at the plate but may have earned continued playing time after drilling a hanging curve ball into the bleachers.
Sadowski would continue to hold the Brew Crew off the scoreboard in his last inning of work. Despite taking a line drive off his right thigh thanks to a line drive by Ryan Braun, the rookie pitcher stayed in the game to finish the inning.
He came back from down 3-0 to get Prince Fielder to fly out to center field on a 3-2 pitch and then induced McGehee into an inning-ending, 6-4-3 double play.
How many times have we heard that phrase with Jonathan Sanchez? Not often.
Sadowski would give way to the bullpen and ironically Jonathan Sanchez was one of the relievers to throw in this game but it would come after Bobby Howry's razor sharp seventh and eighth innings. The Giants off-season free-agent pickup allowed no hits, just one walk, while striking out three in his two innings of work.
The Giants added a run in the top of the eighth when Randy Winn drove in catcher Eli Whiteside on a two-out single to right-center.
But the Giants weren't done swinging the bats. In the ninth, Nate Schierholtz continued his offensive prowess of late by driving a low and inside offspeed pitch over the right-field wall for his third home run of the season. Schierholtz is now hitting a tremendous .316 on the season.
Let's just say seven runs was just enough for Bruce Bochy to have enough confidence to get the much maligned Jonathan Sanchez into the ball game. However, to be fair, in his first relief appearance since losing his spot in the rotation, Sanchez threw well.
Despite beaning Prince Fielder to lead off the inning, the 26-year-old lefty struck out the next three batters he faced to close out the victory.
In the inning, Sanchez' location was on spot and his breaking pitches had filthy movement and even though Sanchez may be pitching to try and get back into the rotation, his ability out of the bullpen might possibly be the best fit.
Without Sanchez, the Giants only have one left in their bullpen (Affeldt) and if Sanchez can continue to throw nasty stuff, he may just find himself a new position: lefty specialist.
The shutout thrown by the combination of Sadowski, Howry and Sanchez is the seventh team shutout but only the first from the fifth spot in the rotation. Each of the other four starters had at least one start end up in a shutout victory.
San Francisco will now travel to St. Louis for a huge four game series with the Central division leaders.