AT&T PARK — The Giants’ starting rotation — outside of Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito — has struggled this season.
Friday night, Matt Cain had a quality start. Saturday afternoon was Bumgarner’s turn. He rebounded nicely from his previous outing when he lost to the Phillies.
Bumgarner (4-1) pitched seven innings allowing only four hits and a run with two walks and 11 strikeouts as the Giants routed the Braves 10-1.
It was Bumgarner’s first career win against Atlanta, which was his favorite team as a youngster. He says it’s big to win these games against a contending team:
Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner
Audio: Ryan Leong/SFBay
“They’ve got a good a shot as anybody playing October baseball. When you play a team like that you want to play your best baseball too to try to see where you’re at. We know we’re good and know we can play with anybody but it’s nice to beat the good teams.”
Gregor Blanco came off the bench midway through the game. His three-run double was the big hit in a four-run 5th inning, and he later had an RBI triple in the 8th.
Pablo Sandoval homered while Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey added run-scoring doubles to provide plenty of run support for Bumgarner, who had received only four runs in his last four outings.
Blanco had no idea he’d end up with the best offensive day of his career:
Giants left fielder Gregor Blanco
Audio: Ryan Leong/SFBay
“Sitting on the bench and I say, ‘there’s no way I’m going to play today.’ And all the sudden I came out and I wasn’t expecting to have a double and a triple and four RBIs. It wasn’t in the plans but that’s baseball and it’s fun.”
Paul Maholm (4-4) took the loss for Atlanta giving up eight hits and six runs in 4-1/3 innings.
Leading by two runs, the Giants broke the game open in the bottom of the 5th. Scutaro’s hit to right was misplayed by Justin Upton and Scutaro was credited with a triple. Sandoval was hit by a pitch before Posey doubled to right, scoring Scutaro.
After an intentional walk to Hunter Pence, acting Braves manager Carlos Tosca pulled Maholm for reliever Cory Gearrin. Giants manager Bruce Bochy countered by bringing in left-handing hitting Gregor Blanco to pinch-hit. It was a smart move, as Blanco doubled to right-center clearing the bases and increasing the Giants’ lead to 6-1.
The Giants batted around in the bottom of the 8th scoring four more runs. San Francisco opened the frame with three straight extra base hits. Pence doubled to right, then Blanco followed with a hit to left that Evan Gattis misplayed into a run scoring triple.
Guillermo Quiroz doubled to left bringing in Blanco. With the bases loaded, Brandon Belt pinch-hit for reliever Chad Gaudin, singling up the middle plating two more runs.
Bochy said solid pitching the last two games is the key to the team’s success:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy
Video: CSN Bay Area
“This is more of our game, hopefully get the quality starts to keep us in the game and find a way to win them. We’ve gotten them the last two days when we’ve needed them.”
Bumgarner retired the first 11 batters he faced. Justin Upton ended the no-hit bid with an infield single to short.
The Braves threatened in the 5th. Evan Gattis doubled to left. He broke his bat on the swing and the ball took a weird spin. Left fielder Francisco Peguero dove for the ball but it got by and rolled to the outfield wall. B.J. Upton walked and both runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Maholm’s bloop single to left scored Atlanta’s only run of the day.
This is one of this weekend’s better series in baseball, as both the Braves and Giants lead their respective divisions. The Giants go for the series win in the homestand finale Sunday afternoon with Tim Lincecum (2-2, 4.75) vs. Atlanta’s Kris Medlen (1-4, 3.25). First pitch at 1:05 p.m.
Blanco didn’t play the first four innings yet finished with a career high four RBIs. Blanco is batting .329 vs. right-handed pitchers (25-for-76). Blanco is also batting .473 (9-for-19) with runners in scoring position. … Four of the 10 runs scored by the Giants came with two outs. Overall, they have 66-two-out RBI, third most in the National League. … Scutaro has an 11-game hit streak and is batting .488 (21-for-43) with 10 runs scored during the streak.