MILWAUKEE -- There was little the Giants could do once Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun executed a perfect squeeze play to score the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning Saturday.
The key pitch for the Giants was the one just before Lucroy's bunt single scored Braun from third to give Milwaukee a 3-2 victory.
Once Guillermo Mota's first pitch to Lucroy went inside for a ball with the bases loaded and one out, it took away Giants manager Bruce Bochy's option to throw a pitchout in defense of the squeeze. Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was aware of that and put the play on, sending the Giants to their fourth loss in five games.
"There's not much you can do," Bochy said. "When you go ball one, you can't start pitching out. Then you're looking at a walk. That's a gamble on their part. They execute [and] it's the toughest play to defend."
Mota (2-2) said the squeeze took him by surprise and said the bunt was so good there was no way to stop Braun from scoring.
"I was trying to do the best I can and I couldn't even touch it," said Mota, who has given up a run in each of his last four appearances.
For his part, Lucroy said he went to the plate as a pinch-hitter trying to hit a sacrifice fly with the Giants' outfield playing shallow. Then he looked over at third-base coach Ed Sedar.
"I saw him give me the squeeze sign," Lucroy said. "I was kind of thrown off because I had to get in a whole different mode.
"I'm like, 'OK, get the bunt down, get the bunt down, get the bunt down,'" he said. "And thank God I got it down. I'm not that good of a bunter. I saw Brauny started running so I just turned around and tried to put it in play."
He put it in play to the first-base side of the mound with Braun barreling home, but Mota couldn't get it in his glove, ending the game.
Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez continued to receive little run support, but gave up only two runs on two hits and four walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings. In nine of his 10 starts, the Giants have scored four runs or fewer.
"That's every day; we play like that every day," said Sanchez, who thought he pitched well. "That's last year, and every time this year, it's close games."
The Giants have scored seven runs in three games since Buster Posey suffered a likely season-ending injury Wednesday night.
Milwaukee made it 1-0 in the first when Carlos Gomez's liner hugging the right-field line got under Cody Ross' glove and rolled all the way to the wall. The play was ruled an inside-the-park home run, but Ross strongly disagreed with the ruling after the game.
"I missed it, it should be an error, actually," he said. "It should not be an inside-the-park home run. I blew it, basically. It's not a home run for sure. It definitely shouldn't go against Sanchey. I went down to go get it and I whiffed. It got by me. Error. That's it. It shouldn't be a home run."
The Brewers scored their second run in the fourth. Braun walked, stole second and took third when catcher Eli Whiteside's throw skipped past shortstop Emmanuel Burriss into center field for an error. Braun then scored on Casey McGehee's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.
The Giants could muster little against Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf until the eighth, and they were helped by an error that led to an unearned run. Trailing, 2-0, pinch-hitter Andres Torres walked with one out and moved to second on Aaron Rowand's single, chasing Wolf.
Reliever Kameron Loe got Freddy Sanchez to hit a hard grounder to third that would have been an easy double play if McGehee would have fielded it cleanly. But the ball took a bad hop and skipped off his glove into left field for an error. Torres scored on the play to pull the Giants within 2-1.
Pat Burrell then delivered a single to left, scoring Rowand to tie the score at 2.
In the ninth, Braun greeted Mota with a single to lead off the inning. Braun then ran on the 3-2 pitch to Prince Fielder, moving shortstop Brandon Crawford toward second to take a possible throw.
However, Fielder hit the ball right where Crawford was playing for a single, with the shortstop having to double back just to stop the ball from going into the outfield.
"It took kind of a funny hop and came back up on me," Crawford said. "It had pretty good topspin on me. I was happy to get to it and knock it down. I would have liked to make the play, obviously, but it was a tough play."
McGehee then grounded weakly to third, moving the runners to second and third.
Yuniesky Betancourt was intentionally walked, and Lucroy then squeezed home the winning run.
John Axford (1-1) pitched the ninth to earn the victory.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.