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SF@MIL: Weeks launches a two-run shot in the third

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers finally ran out of Miller Park magic.

Another sensational Shaun Marcum start went bad Friday with the unlikeliest of grand slams, and the Brewers' best chance to recover ended with Prince Fielder out at the plate -- way, way, way out -- in a 5-4 loss to the Giants.

San Francisco shortstop Brandon Crawford played his first game above Double-A, and his first Major League hit was a seventh-inning grand slam, a decisive blast that made him the first Giants player to hit a grand slam in his debut since Bobby Bonds in 1968. The Brewers were more interested in recent history. They entered the night on a nine-game home winning streak, one win shy of a 32-year-old franchise record.

"We've been pretty good at home so far," said second baseman Rickie Weeks, who homered and drove in three runs. "This isn't going to deter us."

Marcum dueled Giants ace Tim Lincecum through the first five innings, allowing only two hits and no runs. Weeks broke through against Lincecum in the third inning with a 432-foot, two-run homer, then made it 3-0 in the fifth with an RBI fielder's choice.

Weeks' ground ball scored Nyjer Morgan, who jumped from the disabled list right into the starting lineup and scored two runs with two hits. Morgan scored with a slide instead of barreling over catcher Eli Whiteside, who was starting for San Francisco because the regular behind the plate, reigning National League Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, suffered a major leg injury in a collision earlier this week that will likely end his season.

That's not to say Whiteside was spared completely.

In the eighth, after Crawford's slam made it 5-3, the Brewers cobbled together a rally against three Giants relievers. Sergio Romo struck out Weeks and Corey Hart before Ryan Braun worked a walk. Left-hander Javier Lopez was summoned to face Fielder but walked him, too. Ramon Ramirez replaced Lopez and surrendered an infield single to Casey McGehee, whose hard smash was bobbled by his third-base counterpart on the Giants, Miguel Tejada. Jonathan Lucroy, whose would-be home run in the sixth inning drifted just foul, followed with a sharp single to left field.

Braun scored easily from third, and Fielder tried from second, too. It was clear he was in trouble when left fielder Cody Ross scooped up the baseball before Fielder had touched third base. First-year third-base coach Ed Sedar waved Fielder home all the way.

"When you're a third-base coach, you want to be aggressive, and there's a lot of times -- I'd say 50 percent of the time -- you're sending guys and, in your mind, you know if that throw's on line, he's going to be out," Roenicke said. "You're hoping for a bad throw."

But Ross' throw was true, a one-hopper to Whiteside. The catcher had enough time to take a step up the third baseline toward Fielder, who had no play but to try knocking the baseball loose.

They collided, Fielder was out and Whiteside flipped the baseball past him before running to the visitor's dugout.

"He felt good," Fielder said with a shrug. "It was a good play. He saved the game."

"As soon as [Lucroy] hit it, I knew [Fielder] was on second base, I knew they were going to send him and I knew what he was going to try to do," Whiteside said.

Whiteside said he was able to catch the one-hop throw and then "prepared myself." He actually leaned into Fielder instead of just accepting the blow.

"There's no rule in the book says you can't take it to him a little bit, you know?" Whiteside said.

The late flurry clouded what had been a pitching duel between Lincecum and Marcum. The Brewers right-hander had the upper hand until the seventh, when the first four hitters reached safely in a flurry capped by Crawford's grand slam.

Marcum topped 100 pitches against the third of those four hitters, Tejada, who walked. Did Roenicke consider making a pitching change?

"No, I didn't consider it at all," Roenicke said. "He's been our most consistent pitcher."

He also was not exactly laboring in the seventh inning. Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff, the team's new cleanup hitter with Posey out, yanked a double over the bag at first base and Nate Schierholtz followed with a broken-bat single to put runners at the corners.

Marcum missed the strike zone with three different pitches against Tejada and walked him, loading the bases for Crawford. Marcum's first-pitch curveball was supposed to be down and away. Instead, it was down and middle, and Crawford didn't miss.

The 24-year-old hit 20 home runs in three-plus Minor League seasons, and might have started 2011 at Triple-A had he not fractured a finger at the end of Spring Training. Crawford had been rehabbing at Class A San Jose before his callup, and homered Wednesday in front of 519 fans in Bakersfield, Calif.

"We didn't know much about him," Roenicke said. "First-pitch curveball, most guys are going to take that pitch. He's swinging, and we put it in a spot where he got the good part of the bat on it."

Said Marcum: "It definitely was a mislocated pitch, and with runners in scoring position and nobody out, I don't see why you wouldn't come up there and try to pick a pitch you can hit. And he definitely did that."

The Brewers' lead was gone, and eventually, so was their home winning streak.

"Things change so fast," Roenicke said. Comments