ATLANTA -- Kelby Tomlinson drove in three runs and Matt Duffy delivered a two-run single in the seventh inning to give Madison Bumgarner some cushion as he guided the Giants to a 6-1 win over the Braves on Wednesday night at Turner Field.
As Bumgarner was surrendering just one run over 7 1/3 innings, Braves starting pitcher Williams Perez was allowing 10 hits over six-plus innings. Three of the six runs (five earned) charged to the Atlanta right-hander came courtesy of two-out singles recorded by Tomlinson, who was making his first career start in place of injured second baseman Joe Panik.
"If you evaluate [Perez] on other stuff, the way he went about it, it's better than the numbers showed, it really is," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team has lost eight of its past 10 games. "But, you know, that's not what we're here for. We're here to win ballgames."
The Giants, who have won 16 of their past 21 games, chased Perez during a three-run seventh that was highlighted by Duffy's two-run double. Atlanta did not dent the scoreboard until the bottom half of the seventh, when Jace Peterson singled and scored from first base on Ryan Lavarnway's opposite-field double.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tomlinson stays hot: Starting his first Major League game, Tomlinson gave the Giants instant momentum with a two-out, two-run single that opened scoring in the second inning. Tomlinson drove in another run with a fourth-inning single before he flied out in the sixth. Combined with his pinch-hit single Monday, Tomlinson opened his big league career with three consecutive hits, eclipsed in Giant annals only by Willie McCovey's 4-for-4 effort in his July 30, 1959 debut. The last Giant to start 3-for-3 was Fred Lewis in 2006.
Asked how he has managed to avoid nervousness from being suddenly thrust into prime time, Tomlinson said, "Just going through the struggles of the Minor Leagues on up, you get to the point where you're just playing." More >
Not enough escapes: Since joining Atlanta's rotation in May, Perez has shown a knack for using his sinker to escape trouble. But the rookie was unable to do so after a Eury Perez error in center field put runners at second and third with two outs in the second inning. Instead of walking Tomlinson to get to Bumgarner, Perez challenged the rookie and paid the price. The three runs tallied by the Giants in the seventh inning might have been a product of fatigue as Perez was making just his second start since missing a month with a bruised left foot.
Bumgarner turns up heat: Many pitchers might have wilted in the withering heat and humidity that smothered Turner Field, where gametime temperature was 86 degrees. Not Bumgarner, who developed his rawhide-tough persona while growing up in North Carolina. He blanked the Braves on four hits through six innings until they broke through with a seventh-inning run.
In his last six starts against Atlanta, Bumgarner is 5-0 with a 2.09 ERA. Though he matched a season worst by allowing six runs in his last start, Bumgarner didn't use that as extra incentive.
"No matter whether it's good or bad, I'm moving on to the next day," he said. More >
Little challenge for Bum: Before surrendering Lavarnway's RBI double, Bumgarner had not allowed an earned run over his previous 21 innings at Turner Field. Nick Markakis extended his hit streak to 12 games with a first-inning single and later capped his 35th multi-hit game with a one-out double in the sixth. Markakis advanced to third base on a Jonny Gomes single, but was left stranded when Chris Johnson struck out to end the sixth inning.
"When [Bumgarner] is on, this is what you get, plain and simple," Johnson said. "We knew what we were getting into once the game started. We had a couple opportunities, but he made big pitches and we just couldn't get anything going."
The Braves proved successful with the challenge that was issued after Eury Perez was called out on a bang-bang play at first base with one out in the eighth inning. After a one-minute, 25-second review, the umpires reversed Toby Basner's initial ruling that Perez did not beat Bumgarner's toss to first base.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants:Chris Heston will make his first career appearance against the Cubs, coming off one of his shortest outings of the year -- a 4 2/3-inning effort in which he received a no-decision in the Giants' 9-7, 11-inning victory at Texas. This will be the series' lone night game; it's scheduled to begin at 5:05 PT.
Braves:Matt Wisler will take the mound as Atlanta begins a four-game series against the Marlins on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. ET. The Braves have won seven of nine against the Marlins this year. Wisler has a 2.33 ERA over his only three previous starts at Turner Field.