Heyward’s blast propels Braves over Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jason Heyward credits the crowd as much as anything for his success in San Francisco.
Heyward hit a three-run homer and Mike Minor won for the first time in five starts as the Atlanta Braves beat the Giants 7-3 on Saturday, ending San Francisco’s five-game winning streak.
“The crowd always keeps you on your toes here and it’s a good environment to play in,” Heyward said. “They’re always here, it’s a good team and they have good pitching, so you have to focus every at-bat.”
Heyward became the first left-handed hitter to take Madison Bumgarner deep in two years. The slugger has five home runs and 11 RBIs at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark.
“I’m just looking for strikes to hit,” Heyward said. “Don’t miss the one you get to hit because if you do, he’s got you.”
Michael Bourn had two hits and drove in two runs for the Braves, who had lost six of seven but still lead the NL wild-card race. Reed Johnson and Martin Prado also knocked in runs.
Minor (7-10) gave up three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings, striking out five and walking none. He also doubled, walked and scored twice.
“I was just trying to get guys out and limit the damage,” he said. “I felt good. It’s not about being fatigued or anything like that.”
Pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco had a two-run double for the NL West-leading Giants, who had won eight of 10.
Bumgarner (14-8) allowed four runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. He matched his season high with four walks and struck out five, losing for only the second time at home.
“He’s been so good all year and I thought he still pitched a pretty good game,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He made one mistake and it went for a three-run homer.”
Bumgarner walked Minor and Prado around a strikeout of Bourn in the third. Heyward smacked a home run into the right-field bleachers to put the Braves ahead 3-0.
“I kind of got out of whack there,” Bumgarner said. “It was a fastball up and over the middle of the plate.”
Hunter Pence was hit by a pitch leading off the fifth and scored on Brandon Belt’s groundout to make it 3-1.
Bourn singled home a run in the seventh to make it 4-1.
“We had a good approach,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I was ecstatic about Minor’s performance. He minimized the damage and was dominant.”
Blanco doubled off Chad Durbin to drive in two runs in the seventh.
Bourn and Prado each walked with the bases loaded against Jeremy Affeldt to force in runs in the eighth. Johnson doubled home a run in the ninth.
“It got a little sloppy there and we let the game get away,” Bochy said.
NOTES: San Francisco RHP Eric Hacker was optioned to Triple-A Fresno after the game. The Giants will make a corresponding move Sunday. … Bumgarner has pitched at least six innings in all but two starts. … Sonoma Mayor Joanne Saunders declared Dan Uggla Day, honoring the Braves’ second baseman. … RHP Tim Lincecum (7-13, 5.30 ERA) pitches Sunday for the Giants. He won his last outing, beating the Dodgers in Los Angeles. … Giants OF Francisco Peguero made his major league debut. Baseball America rated him as having the best outfield arm in the system. … Braves RHP Tim Hudson (12-4, 3.69) pitches Sunday. He is 7-4 against the Giants. … Atlanta RHP Ben Sheets was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation. RHP Miguel Batista was called up from Triple-A. … Eight of Heyward’s last 16 hits have been for extra bases.