Braves win 7-2, hand Giants first loss of season
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Derek Lowe is
concerned about all the attention being focused on Braves teammate
Jason Heyward. Atlanta’s rookie outfielder, though, isn’t too worried.
Heyward homered and drove in two
runs, Lowe won despite a wild outing and the Braves beat San Francisco
7-2 on Saturday night to hand the Giants their first loss of the
Heyward, who also homered in his
first major league at-bat during Atlanta’s opening day win over the
Chicago Cubs on Monday, finished with three hits and two walks. That
came on the heels of his 0-for-5 performance a day earlier which led to
criticism of the 20-year-old phenom, a point that frustrated Lowe.
“Something’s got to stop where people
are continually talking about this guy,” said Lowe, who scattered four
hits over six innings. “I pick up the paper and it’s like, ‘The Giants
figure out Heyward.’ Now today, did the Giants not figure him out? It’s
unfair because people are basing him on a day-to-day, at-bat to at-bat.
Heyward had a solo shot off starter
Todd Wellemeyer in the sixth inning and added an RBI single to cap a
four-run seventh, helping the Braves end the Giants’ four-game winning
The rookie later shrugged off the pressures of being in the spotlight as part of the job.
“To me, I’m just playing baseball,”
Heyward said. “For me, it’s going to take adjustments, it’s going to
take failures, it’s going to take successes. This is my first time
seeing the league. Other than that I’m just playing baseball.”
Lowe (2-0) won despite a career-high
seven walks. Peter Moylan, Takashi Saito and Jesse Chavez completed the
six-hitter for the Braves.
“Lowe was tough tonight,” Braves
manager Bobby Cox said. “He walked an unusually high amount … but his
ball was sinking good. He pitched out of some jams really good.”
Martin Prado added two hits while filling in for injured Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones.
The Giants were charged with four wild pitches, tying the most in San Francisco history.
“Overall I thought we were off
tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “It wasn’t a clean game for us.
We’d been playing so well and we just had an off night.”
Aaron Rowand had two hits and an RBI
for the Giants, who entered as the only unbeaten team in the majors.
San Francisco failed to take advantage of nine walks by Braves pitching
and dropped to 4-1.
Atlanta won despite a shaky outing
from Lowe, its opening day starter. The right-hander, who allowed only
two walks over 22 innings in spring training, struggled with his
command all night and repeatedly had to pitch out of trouble as a
He finished with four strikeouts and the seven walks, though only one came back to hurt him.
“I don’t even know how to describe
it,” Lowe said. “That game could have easily at any point got
completely out of control. I was doing my best not to let the walks
affect me … because the positive thing was when there was contact,
there was mostly groundballs.”
After walking Aubrey Huff and Mark
DeRosa leading off the fourth, Lowe gave up an RBI single to Jose Uribe
but got out of the jam when Uribe was caught stealing and Eli Whiteside
In the sixth, Lowe issued three walks, one intentional, but got a double play and a groundout to end that threat.
Heyward tied the score at 1 with his
second home run in the sixth, an opposite-field shot that just cleared
the wall in left before bouncing back onto the field.
The Braves then scored three times
in the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Troy Glaus, Yunel Escobar’s
RBI groundout and Heyward’s run-scoring single to left. All the runs
came against Wellemeyer (0-1), who worked out of a pair of jams early
before running into control issues of his own.
Wellemeyer, who gave up seven hits
over 6 1-3 innings with four strikeouts, didn’t get much help from his
teammates. The Giants averaged 5.7 runs through their first four games
but hurt themselves on the bases, grounding into two double plays while
getting caught stealing twice.
Atlanta added an unearned run in the
eighth, then scored twice in the ninth on an RBI double by pinch-hitter
Eric Hinske and a run-scoring single by Omar Infante.
NOTES: Jones missed his second
straight game because of a strained right oblique muscle and is still
day to day. … Giants RHP Tim Lincecum received his second consecutive
NL Cy Young Award trophy during a pregame ceremony. … OF Fred Lewis
is eligible to come off the Giants’ 15-day disabled list Sunday. Lewis,
who missed the final week of spring training because of a left
intercostal strain, has been rehabbing with Triple-A Fresno. … The
Giants will celebrate the 10th anniversary of AT&T Park by
reuniting players from the 2000 NL West division championship team,
including Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Robb Nen.
Updated April 11, 2010