Braves 4, Giants 1

Madison Bumgarner burst onto the national scene with a

spectacular postseason last fall as a rookie for the World Series

champions.

Now, he’s struggling to find his way even when his stuff feels

right on target.

Chipper Jones hit a two-run double, Jason Heyward and Freddie

Freeman each singled in runs during a decisive four-run third

inning that knocked Bumgarner out early and the Atlanta Braves beat

the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Friday night.

Bumgarner (0-3) was the winning pitcher in the Game 4 division

series clincher against the Braves at Turner Field as San Francisco

advanced to face the Phillies in the NLCS, becoming the youngest

pitcher in franchise history to win a postseason game at 21 years,

71 days. But he is still looking for his first win of 2011 after

four starts.

”I felt like I had some of the best stuff I’ve had since I’ve

been here,” Bumgarner said. ”I guess I’m just having some bad

luck right now. I’m trying not to change things and trying not to

get frustrated. It’s good to have guys like Jeremy Affeldt around

to talk with. I realize everybody goes through this. It’s hard and

I’m trying to deal with it. Nobody said it was easy. The best

hitters in the world is who we’re facing. I guess it’s all part of

the growing pains.”

Tommy Hanson (2-3), who had a no-decision in Game 2 of the

playoffs against the Giants, struck out seven and walked one in

seven strong innings as the Braves won for just the second time in

their last six games.

San Francisco returned home to AT&T Park for a quick

three-game homestand with the Braves during a stretch with 16 of 19

games on the road. Next up is a 10-game East Coast road trip

through Pittsburgh, Washington and New York.

Even with the Braves in town, there was hardly the hype that

came in the team’s first six-game homestand. That featured three

days of World Series celebrations, then three games with the rival

Los Angeles Dodgers – including a tribute to longtime fan Bryan

Stow, who was severely beaten outside Dodger Stadium after the

March 31 opener.

”Things have gotten back to normal,” Giants manager Bruce

Bochy said.

This time, there was no Bobby Cox standing atop the opposite

dugout. The longtime manager retired after last season and was

replaced by Fredi Gonzalez.

”I know Fredi well. He’s a friend,” Bochy said. ”It’s still

going to be strange for me to look over to that dugout and not see

Bobby. I’m really going to miss him.”

Every game in that NLDS between these clubs was decided by one

run. The Braves got to Bumgarner in a hurry in the third, with Nate

McLouth reaching on a leadoff walk and Martin Prado drawing a free

pass one out later to set up the RBIs by Heyward and Jones.

Heyward, runner-up in the Rookie of the Year voting last year to

Giants catcher Buster Posey, snapped an 0-for-14 funk with the

hit.

”He couldn’t limit the damage,” Bochy said of Bumgarner. ”He

couldn’t stop it. Since the beginning of the year it’s been one

inning. I look at his stuff. I’m not concerned about him. You have

to remember where he’s at. He’ll come out of this.”

Giants shortstop Miguel Tejada committed a fielding error – just

the fourth all year by a Braves opponent – that kept the inning

going. That was after the 2002 AL MVP stole a hit from Alex

Gonzalez to end the second, facing the outfield as he ran the ball

down in shallow left before making a lunging, backhanded catch.

Tejada somersaulted after the play.

San Francisco outscored Colorado 14-4 in the first two games of

its series earlier this week at Coors Field before losing 10-2 on

Wednesday.

But the Giants couldn’t muster much of anything against Hanson

until Pat Burrell’s RBI groundout in the seventh scored Pablo

Sandoval, who hit a one-out double. That was the third and final

hit allowed by Hanson.

”He didn’t miss on the plate very much,” Posey said. ”I

didn’t feel like I had too many good pitches to hit until the third

time through.”

Atlanta’s Jonny Venters tested his sore arm in a side session,

then relieved Hanson and pitched a perfect eighth. Craig Kimbrel

bounced back from his first blown save Thursday with a 1-2-3 ninth

for his fifth save in six chances.

Sandoval, a late scratch Wednesday against the Rockies, received

treatment for his strained right triceps muscle during Thursday’s

off day and did some early hitting Friday. He was back in the

lineup at third base and batted fifth.

NLCS MVP Cody Ross went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his home

debut after coming off the disabled list during the road trip. Fans

in the sellout crowd of 42,404 chanted ”Cody! Cody!” when he came

to the plate.

Notes: Injured Giants CF Andres Torres likely will need more

time for his strained left Achilles’ tendon to heal. While he is

eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, Torres hasn’t yet

run the bases, sprinted at full speed to shagged flyballs. He did

agility work Thursday and said he will undergo another MRI exam in

the coming days. … San Francisco RHP reliever Santiago Casilla,

on the DL with an inflamed pitching elbow, had his first bullpen

session – making 20 pitches and all fastballs. ”I feel very

good,” Casilla said. ”I’m so happy today.” Casilla probably will

throw from a mound again Tuesday. … San Francisco has sold out

all seven of its home games.