Braves-Giants Preview

Solid starting pitching has helped put the Atlanta Braves in

position to do something they have never done.

With a rookie on the mound, the Braves try for their first-ever

sweep of the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park in the

conclusion of a three-game set Sunday.

After dropping three of four in Los Angeles, Atlanta (10-12) has

held San Francisco to three runs in winning the first two games of

this 2010 postseason rematch. While the Braves secured their first

winning series in San Francisco since 2005 with a 5-2 win Saturday,

they have not swept a series there since Aug. 7-9, 1998 at 3Com

Park.

“It’ll be nice to come in (Sunday) and go for the sweep,” said

Braves ace Tim Hudson, who outpitched Tim Lincecum and came within

an out of a complete game Saturday.

A series sweep could be a bit of vindication for the Braves, who

fell in four games to the eventual World Series champion Giants in

the NL division series.

Atlanta rode a pair of strong outings from Tommy Hanson and

Hudson in the first two games, and now turns to 24-year-old Brandon

Beachy (1-1, 3.86 ERA) to help secure the sweep in his first

appearance versus San Francisco.

In his seventh career start, the right-hander gave up two hits

and struck out seven in six scoreless innings of a 10-1 win at Los

Angeles on Tuesday for his first career victory.

“It took a lot longer than I had hoped to get (the first win),

but it feels good,” said Beachy, who has allowed one run, six hits

and struck out 14 over 12 innings in two road starts in 2011.

The versatile Martin Prado has helped provide the offense for

the Braves in the series, going 3 for 7 with three RBIs – all of

which came Saturday. Prado is 3 for 8 with three walks against

scheduled starter Jonathan Sanchez (2-1, 3.13).

Despite receiving an IV for dehydration as result of the flu,

the left-hander is expected to try for his third straight winning

start in the finale.

“We think he’ll be fine,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Sanchez, who allowed three runs and two hits while walking four

in 6 1-3 innings of a 6-3 win at Colorado on Tuesday, is 1-2 with a

4.55 ERA in six regular season and playoff starts against the

Braves.

However, he gave up one run, two hits and struck out 11 while

not factoring in the decision of San Francisco’s 3-2 win in Game 3

at Atlanta last season.

Even if Sanchez is to pitch well again, the Giants (10-10)

likely will need to fare better at the plate to avoid a fourth

consecutive loss. San Francisco has scored five runs over the last

three games following a stretch where it averaged 5.4 runs while

winning six of seven.

“We’ve got to get this offense going,” Bochy said. “We’re just

not quite clicking. We’re not getting the hit when we need it.

That’s something you ride through.”

Pat Burrell had three hits while Cody Ross added his first two

of the season and drove in a run Saturday. Burrell is 7 for 18 in

his last five games to raise his average to .250.

Aubrey Huff has not fared well lately for the Giants, going 0

for 12 in the last three games.