Folty's stellar start drops Giants two games back

Folty's stellar start drops Giants two games back

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Kemp launched a three-run home run deep over the center-field fence and Mike Foltynewicz continued his mastery of the Giants this year as the Braves halted San Francisco's brief winning streak with a 3-1 victory Saturday.

"It always feels good to put your team up, especially coming in here," Kemp said. "It's good to quiet the crowd a little bit. They get riled up when they're up. But if you can get on the board and get them down, they'll back off you a little bit. Folty pitched an excellent game. We gave as many runs as he needed and he did his thing."

Foltynewicz allowed just one run in six innings against the Giants in May, and the right-hander reenacted that performance at AT&T Park. Foltynewicz surrendered five hits and made only one costly mistake. Brandon Crawford made him pay for that miscue, lining a solo home run over the left-field fence in the second. But Foltynewicz faced little pressure from the majority of the Giants' lineup while pitching 7 2/3 formidable innings.

"That's a tough matchup for anybody, as well as he threw tonight," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "He was tough on us in Atlanta, too. He's got great stuff when he's on. He's tough."

Foltynewicz's strong outing

The Giants chased Foltynewicz in the eighth, after Denard Span doubled and Angel Pagan drew a walk with two outs. But Mauricio Cabrera promptly induced a groundout from Joe Panik to get out of the jam. Kemp's three-run home run, which carried 425 feet, according to Statcast™, in the the fourth proved to be the perfect amount of support.

"I was feeling very good, just one pitch lifted it up," said Giants starter Albert Suarez, who meant to throw Kemp a fastball low and away. "He put one good swing on it and he hit it far."

Kemp, a former member of the Dodgers and Padres, now has 23 home runs against San Francisco.

He helped spoil what had been a solid start for Suarez. Only hours after being recalled from the Minors to replace an injured Jake Peavy, Suarez didn't allow a hit in his first three innings. But the rookie quickly unraveled in the fourth, surrendering a single, double and home run to the first three batters he faced in the inning. Suarez lasted 4 1/3 innings, and due to a 3-2 Dodgers win, the Giants fell two games behind Los Angeles for first place in the National League West.

Front-line stuff: Foltynewicz paid for the center-cut fastball Crawford drilled for an opposite-field homer in the second inning, but he was otherwise relatively flawless as he retired 15 of the first 18 batters faced. Crawford struck again in the seventh inning with a leadoff double, but the Braves right-hander did not blink as he escaped the inning unscathed. After Span sliced an opposite-field double with two outs in the eighth, Foltynewicz ended his impressive effort with a nine-pitch battle that resulted in the Pagan walk preceding Panik's groundout against Cabrera.

"A couple starts before this, I might have gotten a little upset [after Crawford's homer] and then maybe the next guy would have been walked," Foltynewicz said. "But after that, I just settled down, kept attacking and kept the same game plan. I didn't shy away from anything there."

Firing a strike: Filling in for an injured Hunter Pence, Gorkys Hernandez showcased his arm strength in the sixth inning. After Dansby Swanson hit a two-out single to right field with a runner on second, Hernandez threw a strike to catcher Trevor Brown to get Tyler Flowers out at home. Already trailing by two at that point, the throw got the Giants out of the inning unscathed.

Hernandez's assist saves a run

Making an impact: Though Kemp's statistics since coming to Atlanta at the start of August have not been eye-popping, he has lengthened the lineup, provided Freddie Freeman protection and produced some of the power the Braves envisioned. Atlanta was hitless before the fourth inning began with an Adonis Garcia single, Freeman's double and Kemp's 26th homer of the season -- third in 95 at-bats tallied for the Braves.

"That was a nice short swing," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I was very impressed. When he hit it, I thought it was going to score a run, but then I looked up and that thing just kept going. That's a big strong man. It was almost a perfect swing." More »

Kemp's long three-run homer

Missing the timely hit: The Giants struck first Saturday on Crawford's 12th homer of the season to provide Suarez with an early cushion. But the Giants' offense struggled throughout Saturday's game, going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

"That was the difference in the game," said Bochy. "We just couldn't get a key hit. That's how you win ballgames, and that was missing tonight."

"We're going to be facing a lot of teams that are trying to get in the postseason and they are all going to have great crowds with great energy. Sometimes you have to feed off it in a good way." -- Foltynewicz

Braves: Aaron Blair will make his first start since June 24 when Atlanta and San Francisco conclude this three-game series Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. Blair has spent the past two months with Triple-A Gwinnett. He held the Giants scoreless until surrendering three two-run home runs in the fifth inning of a June 2 start at Turner Field.

Giants: Madison Bumgarner will take the mound at 1:05 p.m. PT as the Giants look to win their first series at AT&T Park since the All-Star break. Bumgarner allowed a season-high five earned runs in his last start against the Dodgers on Tuesday. He is 6-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last seven outings against the Braves.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for since 2001.

Justin Wise is a reporter for based in the Bay Area.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.