Braves vexed by Giants' pitching, extra-base hits

Braves vexed by Giants' pitching, extra-base hits

Braves vexed by Giants' pitching, extra-base hits

ATLANTA -- The Braves won't have to see Madison Bumgarner for the rest of the regular season, and after another double-digit strikeout effort from the Giants' promising young left-hander, it's hard to say how many more times the Atlanta offense could bear to face him.

Bumgarner finished with 10 strikeouts while Kris Medlen and the rest of the Braves pitching staff fell victim to a barrage of doubles, as the Braves stumbled to a 6-0 loss in their series opener against the Giants on Friday night at Turner Field to extend their losing streak to four games, matching a season high.

Former Brave Gregor Blanco's leadoff home run proved decisive for the Giants, who overcame their road woes to improve to 4-1 this year against Atlanta. Catcher Buster Posey, who was born in Leesburg, Ga., finished 3-for-5 with three doubles and scored a pair of runs in his return to his home state. In all, six of the Giants' 11 hits Friday night were doubles.

Meanwhile, the Braves' offense had no answer for Bumgarner, who allowed just two hits over seven innings. The 23-year-old lefty did not allow an Atlanta baserunner until B.J. Upton's walk in the bottom of the fifth inning and held the Braves hitless until the sixth.

"Right from the beginning, we go down 1-0, and they added some runs, which probably made it even tougher to face him, but he was pretty good," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Our bats didn't look very good because of that, I think. He threw breaking pitches behind in the count, spotted his fastball and made some great pitches on two-strike situations to our hitters. We couldn't put the ball in play when we had two strikes."

In his only other start against Atlanta this season, on May 11, Bumgarner allowed one run on four hits over seven innings and finished with 11 strikeouts.

"I think I just caught them at a good time for me," Bumgarner said. "I felt good earlier in the year when I faced them. ... It's a little bit of luck and a little bit of catching them at the right time."

The Giants got to Medlen early with runs in four of the first five innings, as he gave up hits to seven of the first 13 batters he faced before settling in to retire the next seven in order. After sending the first leadoff home run of his career into the right-center-field seats, Blanco struck again in the second inning with a two-out RBI single that plated Joaquin Arias. Arias had reached on a ground-rule double after Jason Heyward tripped as he turned to track the ball to deep right field.

"I felt like I was ahead of guys, and it's just one of those frustrating games, really," Medlen said. "They're a team that doesn't strike out a lot. They lead the Major Leagues in not striking out, so they put the balls in play."

The defensive struggles would continue for the Braves outfield. After Buster Posey led off the third inning with a double to right field, Hunter Pence hit a line drive to shallow center field that bounced just under the glove of Upton for an RBI double.

In the top of the fifth inning, Posey came around to score after doubling once again when Brandon Crawford dropped a line drive over the head of Chris Johnson at third base and into shallow left field for another RBI double.

"[Posey's] an extremely good hitter, and they got some pesky guys out there," Medlen said. "Just frustrating. Obviously you're not going to get guys out every single time, but you feel like your percentages are better when you make good pitches."

San Francisco tacked on two more runs off rookie reliever Alex Wood in the top of the seventh inning. Wood's bases-loaded balk brought home Pence from third to cap the scoring.

Chris Johnson broke up Bumgarner's no-hit bid with a leadoff single to right field in the sixth inning, but Andrelton Simmons grounded into an inning-ending double play two batters later to send the Giants right back into the dugout.

"He pitched me pretty much the same," Simmons said. "Last time he made me chase a couple times, and this time he threw more strikes, so I swung at more strikes, but basically, the same pitches. He's been painting against us, so you can only do so much."

Simmons recorded the Braves' final hit with an infield single in the bottom of the ninth, and he advanced on a Heyward groundout to become the first Atlanta runner to reach second base all game with two outs in the ninth.

Eric Single is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.