By Alex Espinoza and Michael Wagaman
Special to MLB.com |
SAN FRANCISCO -- Atlanta southpaw Jaime Garcia outdueled Giants right-hander Matt Cain in Friday's 2-0 win by the Braves, a crisp matchup that featured a couple of veteran starters.
Garcia tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five, to pick up his first victory since April 29. He also broke up a scoreless tie in the seventh inning with a single to left field that led to two runs.
"I expect that out of him with his stuff," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He was really good last time out. Shoot, he was good in Toronto, that start also. It's good to see him coming around and banging the strike zone like that."
Garcia's ability to limit walks -- he had nine in his previous two starts -- was critical, as was repeatedly getting ahead in the count while helping Atlanta to its first shutout this season.
"That's a big thing for me, being able to control the count and keep the ball on the ground," Garcia said. "I was able to do that when I needed it. That's the goal every time."
Cain suffered a hard-luck loss after the Giants were shut out for the fifth time this season. Cain went seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
"Tonight was definitely a tough one," Cain said. "To go back and forth with Garcia and then we just weren't able to find a good situation to get a good hit in. It just stings on my part to give up a hit to the opposing pitcher that ended up winning it."
The Giants have scored six runs in their past four contests, dropping their average to an MLB-worst 3.32 per game.
"You got to get some hits and create those opportunities," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "We're not doing it very often."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Smart scoring: After the Giants intentionally walked Dansby Swanson with two outs in the seventh to get to Garcia, the pitcher knocked a single to left field. Once Brandon Belt's throw bounced off Tyler Flowers as he crossed home plate, Swanson alertly raced around to score and double the Braves' lead. Cain retrieved the ball from foul territory down the first-base line and tossed it to catcher Nick Hundley, but Hundley couldn't apply the tag in time as Swanson slid under the attempt.
"It was like 'Run, Forrest, run,'" Swanson said. "I just reacted and kept going."
Leaving them loaded: The Giants didn't have many scoring opportunities but were able to load the bases against Garcia in the bottom of the sixth. Justin Ruggiano came to the plate after Buster Posey was intentionally walked, but grounded out to third base to kill the Giants' biggest threat of the game.
"I thought we'd come home and get some rips in tonight but it didn't happen," Bochy said. "Their guy was good. He gets a lot of movement on his fastball, he's got a good changeup. We didn't hit many balls hard, really. A lot of weak ground balls. Just couldn't do much offensively. We had one good chance there, and we had a good hitter up, but he made a good pitch."
"His sinker was real good today. It had real good action on it, especially early in the game. He was throwing it for strikes, getting guys engaged, challenging them to swing early." -- Braves catcher Flowers, on Garcia's pitching
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Flowers grounded out into a 5-4-3 double play to end the top of the fourth inning, stranding Matt Kemp at third base. It marked the 50th double play Atlanta has hit into this season, which is tops in the National League.
WHAT'S NEXT Braves: Right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (3-4, 3.86 ERA) chases his fourth consecutive win when he makes his fifth career start against the Giants in another night game (10:05 p.m. ET) Saturday at AT&T Park. Foltynewicz, who beat San Francisco twice in 2016, has walked only three batters in his previous 17 innings.
Giants: Southpaw Ty Blach (2-2, 4.10) will go for his third straight win in Saturday's 7:05 p.m. PT matchup against the Braves. Blach has finished seven innings in each of his past three starts, posting a 2.57 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in that span.