- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson kept the Brewers in a tight game. His two mistakes turned out to be the difference against Johnny Cueto.

Nelson pitched into the eighth, but Milwaukee’s offense failed to lift the homegrown right-hander up in a 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. Cueto (1-0) pitched seven solid innings in his San Francisco debut.

The Brewers need Nelson to build on last year’s campaign after he led the team in starts, wins, innings pitched and strikeouts.

“He was good all night. It’s great to see,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “That’s a tough lineup and he certainly matched Cueto.”

Nelson (0-1) allowed five hits while striking out three and reaching 96 mph on the radar gun. But it was a secondary pitch he’ll want to get back.

He hung a changeup to Brandon Crawford for a solo home run.

“I definitely wasn’t sitting changeup,” Crawford said, “but it wasn’t the best location he’s probably ever put a changeup before.”

Nelson made one more mistake that eventually gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the fourth when he deflected Hunter Pence’s sharply hit grounder that likely would’ve been a double play.

Instead, Milwaukee didn’t record an out on Pence’s single. With the bases loaded, Matt Duffy followed two batters later with an RBI groundout gave Cueto all the support he would need.

“It was a tough break. The ball went off my glove,” Nelson said. “It was probably right at Scooter (Gennett) for a double play, but it is just reaction.”

BREWERS TRADE

The Brewers announced after the game they acquired LHP Sam Freeman from Texas for cash. RHP Ariel Pena was designated for assignment.

CONFIDENT CUETO

Cueto was the centerpiece of San Francisco’s offseason rotation overhaul when he signed a six-year, $130 million deal after winning a championship with the Kansas City Royals.

He picked up where he left off in the postseason, throwing his fastball effectively and varying his pitching motion to keep the Brewers baffled. He scattered six hits and struck out four.

“He has the funky deliveries and messes with your timing,” said Brewers third baseman Aaron Hill, who went 0-for-3. “We swung at good pitches, but we just missed a few balls here and there. That’s part of the timing.”

Brandon Crawford homered for the Giants and saved another run with a sharp defensive play. Sergio Romo pitched the eighth and Santiago Casilla got the last three outs for his first save.

Cueto capped an up-and-down season last year with a superb World Series performance for the Royals, allowing one run while tossing a two-hitter in Game 2 to set the stage for his big payday.

“I felt very comfortable since Day 1. I’m going to be here for a long time based on the contract that I signed,” Cueto said. “It’s good that I had a good outing, especially the first one.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: The flu-like illness in the Giants clubhouse seems to have run its course. Giants manager Bruce Bochy is considering sitting several veterans on Wednesday because of the travel back to the West Coast. The Giants open their home slate with a Thursday matinee against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (back muscle) was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday. Garza says he’ll miss between four and six weeks with the injury.

RHP Tyler Cravy was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.

UP NEXT

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija is next up in Wednesday’s finale. Samardzija signed a five-year, $90 million contract in the offseason to join Cueto in bolstering the Giants’ rotation. Samardzija is 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA in 13 appearances, including six starts, at Miller Park.

Brewers: Milwaukee turns to RHP Taylor Jungmann, who went 1-3 with a 5.71 ERA in five starts this spring.


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