June 20, 2024
SF Giants bats light up to prevent sweep at hands of Atlanta Braves

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants have already lost seven series in a row. So a sweep-preventing 8-5 win on Sunday afternoon over the Atlanta Braves, arguably the National League’s best team, lessened the sting of the Giants’ recent woes.

Timely hits, power and a little small ball ignited an offensive performance this team has lacked during this rough stretch dating back to late-July. After taking an early lead, the Giants had an answer for every Braves’ threat to come back.

J.D. Davis’ RBI single in the first inning and Casey Schmitt’s solo home run — his third career and first in 204 at-bats — gave the Giants an early 2-0 lead. Making his first career start, Tristan Beck not only held that lead, but didn’t allow a Braves base runner through his first four innings.

But Atlanta got a better feel for Beck a second time through the order and made their push. Matt Olson led the fifth off with a walk and Eddie Rosario doubled off the right field wall to set up Travis d’Arnaud’s two-run single to tie the game. A miscommunication between Beck and catcher Patrick Bailey on Orlando Arcia’s dribbler resulted in a single to force Beck out of the game on 70 pitches. Reliever Scott Alexander couldn’t escape the inning clean as d’Arnaud scored on Nicky Lopez’s single to right.

That inning, they got Ronald Acuña out on a dribbler with a spectacular relay from Davis to Alexander to a sprinting second baseman Thairo Estrada, then Estrada rifled the ball home to get Arcia out at home by an inch — he was called safe initially, then called out on the Giants manager Gabe Kapler’s challenge to keep the Braves lead to 3-2.

The Giants had an answer in the bottom of the inning. Luis Matos legged out a double on a bloop to left field and moved to third on Slater’s slicing hit to right field. Against Collin McHugh in relief, Wilmer Flores loaded the bases on a walk and Davis walked to tie the game.

Bailey came up with the big hit, hitting a 2-2 sweeper hard enough past first baseman Olson and into right field to clear the bases and give the Giants a 6-3 lead.

The Braves had an answer. Olson doubled and Marcell Ozuna homered to cut the Giants’ lead to one run.

The Giants created more cushion in the sixth inning with some strong situational hitting. Pinch hitters Wade Meckler drew a walk and advanced to second on Schmitt’s sacrifice bunt. Then Joc Pederson was intentionally walked to set up Slater’s second hit and RBI up the middle that scored Meckler. Estrada’s bunt up the first base line caught the Braves’ defense off guard to score Pederson from third with no play at first.

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The win puts the Giants 1.5 games back of the Diamondbacks for the third National League Wild Card spot and tied with the Cincinnati Reds, who come to San Francisco for a three-game series starting on Monday. Perhaps the most important thing from Sunday’s game to help the Giants regain a Wild Card spot came in the game’s final inning, when Camilo Doval pitched a perfect ninth inning.

Doval struck out two and got a game-ending lineout to pick up his 34th save of the season, his first save in more than three weeks. The closer had blown a save opportunity in each of his last four appearances on the mound, including on back-to-back nights in Philadelphia earlier this week, and hadn’t saved a game since Aug. 3.


Outfielders Mike Yastrzemski (hamstring) and Mitch Haniger (right arm fracture) could return from the IL as soon as Monday’s opener against the Cincinnati Reds, manager Gabe Kapler said. Yastrzemski took live BP and ran the bases before Sunday’s game and Mitch Haniger is scheduled to play in his fifth rehab assignment game Sunday night.