Braves 4, Giants 1
The electric atmosphere and full house reminded Tommy Hanson of
the last time he took the mound at AT&T Park back in October
for the NL division series.
He liked the result this time around. He commanded his fastball
all night. His slider was clicking, too.
Chipper Jones hit a two-run double, Jason Heyward and Freddie
Freeman each singled in runs during a decisive four-run third
inning to back Hanson and the Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco
Giants 4-1 on Friday night.
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
”I’m not going to lie: It felt similar to the playoffs,”
Hanson said. ”I didn’t have the greatest playoff start here last
time. I wanted to go out and give us a chance to win.”
The Braves knocked Madison Bumgarner (0-3) out early and showed
no signs of fatigue following a 5-3, 12-inning loss at Los Angeles
on Thursday, taking the opener of a weekend series and rematch of
last fall’s NL division series won by the World Series champion
Bumgarner was the winning pitcher in the Game 4 division series
clincher 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.
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
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.
”It’s a big game for us after losing yesterday to the
Dodgers,” Gonzalez said. ”This is a resilient group, it really
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: Atlanta is 6-1 in the first game of a series this year.
… 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. … The Braves recalled RHP Cory
Gearrin from Triple-A Gwinnett to bolster their taxed bullpen and
optioned OF Matt Young to Gwinnett. … San Francisco has sold out
all seven of its home games.