SAN FRANCISCO — After an extended slump they would rather forget, the San Francisco Giants are gaining ground and back in the thick of the playoff chase as September begins.
Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer among his three RBIs, powering the San Francisco Giants past the Milwaukee Brewers 15-5 on Sunday to match a season high with their sixth straight win.
"With our struggles here at home it was really important, just getting that confidence, the swagger, whatever, back," manager Bruce Bochy said. "I really thought we would turn it around."
Madison Bumgarner (16-9) followed his one-hit gem Tuesday against Colorado with seven strikeouts in six innings to win his third straight start. The left-hander finished August at 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA, helping San Francisco stay close at 2 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hunter Pence extended his NL-leading hitting streak to 13 games with a third-inning RBI double for the first of his four hits. He doubled again in the fifth and added a seventh-inning triple.
The Brewers lost their season-high fifth straight road game and dropped into a tie for the NL Central lead with St. Louis. It's the first time since July 20 that they don't have sole possession of the division lead.
Milwaukee has held at least a share of the lead every day since April 5.
Martin Maldonado homered off Giants reliever George Kontos in the seventh, but the Brewers were swept at AT&T Park for the first time since Aug. 24-26, 2007. Milwaukee was outscored 31-8 in the series. Ryan Braun homered in the eighth.
Kyle Lohse (12-8) allowed seven runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings for his fourth defeat in five decisions.
Backup catcher Andrew Susac was given a start and went 3 for 4 with three RBIs, including a two-run double and an RBI double. Joe Panik had a two-run triple as San Francisco earned its fifth series sweep this year. The Giants have a season-best six-game winning streak at AT&T Park.
The Brewers briefly took a lead in the first when Braun grounded into a run-scoring double play. Bumgarner was unscathed otherwise, allowing five hits with one walk.
San Francisco's starting pitchers combined for a 1.07 ERA with 57 strikeouts and seven walks on the 6-1 homestand.
"Look where we're at, we've turned it on at the best time of the year," Bumgarner said. "We're getting hot and everybody's doing their part."
Sandoval tripled to start the second. He walked in a seven-run seventh, his first shot at the cycle. Fans chanted "Double!" but he flied out later in the inning.
Tim Lincecum pitched the eighth and ninth for San Francisco in his first relief outing since he was pulled out of the rotation last Monday.
The Giants' 10 extra-base hits were their most at their 15-year-old ballpark. They twice had nine. Sunday's total included six doubles, and it was their first game with 10 extra-base hits at home since Sept. 22, 1998, against the Pirates at Candlestick Park.
Brewers: Leadoff man and CF Carlos Gomez left in the third with left wrist soreness. X-rays were negative but he's doubtful for Monday's game against the Cubs. "Right now it's a little sore, but it's been sore the past couple of days and it's been worse in the past," said Gomez, who felt it on a follow-through while hitting. ... The Brewers will welcome Jonathan Broxton on Monday in Chicago after acquiring the right-handed reliever Sunday from the Reds to serve as an experienced setup man for the stretch run.
Giants: C Buster Posey got the afternoon off, a day after he took a foul tip off the right forearm and also a couple of others Saturday night. "Buster needs a day," Bochy said. "He's just got general soreness." ... The Giants transferred C Hector Sanchez (concussion) and INF Ehire Adrianza (hamstring) to the 60-day disabled list.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (2-5, 4.10 ERA) pitches the series opener against the Cubs. He is looking to snap an 0-3 stretch over his last four starts.
Giants: San Francisco will resume its suspended May 22 game with the Rockies at Coors Field, using a new pitcher and lineup because rosters changed for both clubs since that day. The teams will have expanded rosters available, and Bochy wouldn't say who will pitch first. The game, suspended by weather, is tied 2-all with two outs and a runner on first in the bottom of the sixth.
"That first game is going to get intriguing," Bochy said.
After the game, the Giants recalled OF Juan Perez and LHP Mike Kickham from Triple-A Fresno and RHP Hunter Strickland from Double-A Richmond. INF Chris Dominguez and C Guillermo Quiroz had their contracts purchased from Fresno.