Giants-Braves Preview

The San Francisco Giants’ typically subdued offense came alive

in the series opener in Atlanta, while its revered pitching staff

shut out the Braves.

There certainly seems to be a decent chance for a similar result

in the second game with the formidable Ryan Vogelsong squaring off

against Mike Minor, owner of the league’s worst ERA.

Vogelsong looks to pitch the NL West-leading Giants to a

season-high fifth straight victory Wednesday night against a Braves

team trying to bounce back from its first loss in two weeks.

San Francisco (50-40) arrived in Atlanta having scored the

sixth-fewest runs in the majors, but its offense put on a display

against Jair Jurrjens in Tuesday’s 9-0 win. All-Star Buster Posey,

a Georgia native, had his second straight three-hit game and drove

in a season-high five runs, while Melky Cabrera finished with two

hits and scored twice for the Giants, who’ve won all four games

since the Midsummer Classic after a 2-7 stretch heading into the

break.

San Francisco finished with 13 hits and is one victory away from

winning its second series at Turner Field since its opening in

1997.

The Braves (49-40) entered Tuesday’s game averaging 6.1 runs

during a season-high seven-game winning streak, but they were

five-hit by Barry Zito and a pair of relievers. Two-time All-Star

Michael Bourn, batting .409 with five runs in his previous five

games, was hitless in four at-bats, while Jason Heyward and Chipper

Jones were a combined 0 for 7.

“We just didn’t get it done like a team,” Jurrjens said. “I

didn’t make pitches, we didn’t hit, we didn’t field. That’s a team

loss.”

Atlanta, which dropped 3 1/2 games back of NL East-leading

Washington, could again have some trouble offensively against

Vogelsong (7-4, 2.36 ERA), who owns the majors’ fifth-best ERA.

Vogelsong hasn’t pitched since July 7, when he gave up three

runs and eight hits in seven innings of 3-1 defeat to Pittsburgh.

It was only the Giants’ second loss in the right-hander’s last 13

outings – all of which have been quality starts.

Although Vogelsong has been tough to score on, he hasn’t been

quite as sharp on the road, with a 3.59 ERA in seven outings. This

will be the first career start against the Braves for Vogelsong,

who made a relief appearance versus them in April 2011.

Posey, who started the series opener at first base, will almost

certainly be behind the plate for Vogelsong after catcher Hector

Sanchez left Tuesday’s game with a sprained left knee. Manager

Bruce Bochy said he’ll have an MRI on Wednesday.

“We’re hoping for the best,” Bochy said. “We’re thinking it’s a

couple days.”

While Vogelsong was magnificent for much of the season’s first

half, Minor’s spot in the rotation has seemingly been in jeopardy

since the end of April.

It was acknowledged before his final start before the break that

Minor (5-6, 5.97) needed a solid showing to help keep his job. The

left-hander delivered, allowing three runs and three hits in 6 1-3

innings of a 7-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs on July 5. It was

just his second quality start in his last 12 outings, and manager

Freddie Gonzalez hopes it’s a sign of things to come.

“He goes into the break feeling good about himself and maybe

come out the other end with some momentum,” Gonzalez told the

Braves’ official website.

Minor was sharp in his only career start against the Giants on

Aug. 18, yielding four hits while striking out nine in six innings

of a 1-0 victory.