Braves 4, Giants 1
Madison Bumgarner burst onto the national scene with a
spectacular postseason last fall as a rookie for the World Series
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
”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
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
”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
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
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.