MILWAUKEE — A big 10th inning for the San Francisco Giants got off to a running start by distracting Milwaukee Brewers slick-fielding shortstop Orlando Arcia.
Gorkys Hernandez took off from first at right about the same time that pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson lined a bouncer to short. It probably would have turned into a double play if Arcia wasn't covering the bag at second.
Instead, Tomlinson had an infield single, and Hunter Pence followed with an RBI single that opened the scoring in a four-run inning that gave the Giants a 9-5 victory Thursday.
The Giants overcame a rough outing by closer Mark Melancon, who blew a two-run lead in the ninth.
"They kept fighting. That's all you can do," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
His offense roughed up Brewers reliever Jacob Barnes (1-1) for five hits and four runs. Barnes didn't record an out in the 10th.
The Brewers could have had two easy outs on a double play if Arcia wasn't moving to cover Hernandez at second.
"They put runners in motion," manager Craig Counsell said. "They got rewarded for contact."
Until that point, the Brewers had the momentum after getting to Melancon.
Eric Sogard led off the ninth with a homer, and Travis Shaw's RBI single three batters later tied the game at 5 with no outs before Melancon got the next three hitters.
Melancon (1-1) ended up with the win in spite of giving up three runs and two hits.
Maybe this will be the victory that will give the Giants a spark. They split the four-game series with the Brewers and moved to 12 games under .500.
"We've had some tough times and you know, we give up a two-run lead there in the ninth and find a way to win the ball game," Bochy said. "You keep doing that and we'll get this turned around."
The ninth also featured an odd play after Thames reached on a walk. Jesus Aguilar followed with a double to left that got stuck under the padded outfield fence. Left fielder Orlando Calixte retrieved the ball, and a relay throw home to try to get Thames bounced to the backstop, allowing Aguilar to go to third.
The umpires ruled a ground-rule double with the ball lodged, sending Thames back to third and Aguilar to second. Thames would eventually score on Shaw's single.
The call was upheld after Counsell asked for a replay review. After the game, home plate umpire Ed Hickox said the play was ruled dead because of the lodged ball.
"But any time an umpire sees the ball lodged, even if it's momentarily, if it's lodged, the ball is dead," Hickox said after the game.
The damage could have been worse in the ninth for the Giants. But third baseman Eduardo Nunez, who was playing in, snared a line drive by Jett Bandy just to his right to save a potential extra-base hit.
"It had just enough top spin and he made a great play," Bandy said.
Thames hit a solo homer in the third for the Brewers, his 16th of the year. ... Giants rookie Austin Slater hit his first career homer in the fourth off starter Paolo Espino, a blast that caromed off the corner of the scoreboard high above left-center.
Slater even got the ball back.
"What are the odds of that? Only here in Milwaukee. I'm thankful it happened. It is definitely something I will keep forever," he said.
Giants: Johnny Cueto threw 106 pitches over five innings, allowing six hits, four walks and three runs, including Thames' homer. The right-hander's eight-game winning streak against the Brewers came to an end with the no-decision. The streak started on Sept. 25, 2012, while he was with the Cincinnati Reds.
Brewers: Milwaukee had to go to its up-and-down bullpen early after Espino went just four innings, allowing five hits and three runs. Espino was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs before the game.
Giants: C Buster Posey and Pence each got a planned day off from the starting lineup.