Two playoff contenders that have battled each other through a pair of down-to-the-wire games nearly three months apart will go at it again Friday night when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the San Francisco Giants in the continuation of a four-game series.
The teams have split their first two meetings of the season almost 2,200 miles apart, with the Giants rallying late for a 4-2 win at Milwaukee in a single game in April before the Brewers got even with a 3-2, 10-inning victory at San Francisco on Thursday.
Brewers ace Corbin Burnes pitched brilliantly in both games. On Friday, he will watch teammate Brandon Woodruff duel the Giants’ Alex Wood in a battle of veterans who have never lost to the opponent.
Woodruff (7-3, 4.01 ERA) has gone 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in three career appearances against the Giants, two of which were as a starter. Both starts were last season, when he struck out 16 in 12 innings, allowing just two runs.
The right-hander went six innings, allowing one run, in a 6-2 win in San Francisco last August, his only previous visit to Oracle Park.
Woodruff is coming off a no-decision in a 4-3 home loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, a start in which he allowed three runs in six innings. The 29-year-old had won his previous two starts with 10 and eight strikeouts, respectively. He added nine against Pittsburgh.
Woodruff will see a Giants team that has struggled to score at home. In losing six of their last eight games at Oracle Park, San Francisco totaled just 14 runs in those defeats.
Wood (6-7, 4.43) had no such lack of offensive support in a 12-0 road win over the San Diego Padres in his most recent start on Sunday. The left-hander has allowed just one run in 12 innings in his last two starts, including seven shutout innings against the Padres.
Wood has never lost to the Brewers in six career appearances, just two of which have been starts, going 3-0 with a 1.65 ERA. The 31-year-old hasn’t faced Milwaukee since 2018 as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Other than the win, the best news for the Brewers in the series opener was the return of Christian Yelich from a sore back. He didn’t start for the third straight game but was deemed healthy enough to pinch run to start the 10th inning.
Yelich wound up scoring the winning run, dashing from second to third on an infield out before racing home on an infield hit by Jonathan Davis.
“Man, that felt like a playoff game,” Davis insisted shortly afterward. “The ball literally rolled our way tonight.”
No doubt, the Brewers would like to get Yelich back into the starting lineup Friday with Wood on the mound. Yelich has bombed his rival for 13 hits in 32 lifetime at-bats, a .406 average.
The Giants likely won’t have closer Camilo Doval in the rematch after he was called upon to go the final two innings with the game on the line in the opener. He gave up the game-winning hit by Davis — a two-out, two-strike chopper that barely went 75 feet.
“That’s a pretty significant workload for Doval,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler praised afterward. “We gave him the opportunity, and he delivered. Sometimes you deliver, and a dribbler down the third-base line is the difference in the game.”
–Field Level Media