AT&T PARK — A dominant Mike Minor ended the Giants four-game win streak Tuesday night at AT&T Park, as Atlanta shut out the Giants 5-0 to split the series at a game apiece.
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
San Francisco had no answer for the Atlanta left-hander who allowed only three hits and no runs through 6 2/3 in his third start of the season.
The game looked like a pitcher’s duel from the outset, as Ryan Vogelsong continued his impressive form through the first five innings, striking out eight batters — four looking — in that span.
Vogelsong (L, 1-2, 4.22 ERA) entered the game on a hot run of form, allowing only two runs in has previous 20-1/3 innings. A three-run sixth, though, would be the Giants undoing, and would force out Vogelsong after a promising start.
Manager Bruce Bochy praised Vogey’s effort despite the result:
“I thought he had good stuff, he threw the ball well. He should’ve fared better. Even at the end they tacked on with those ground balls that got through. I thought he had really good stuff. …That last inning the pitches probably caught up with him a bit.”
The Braves opened up scoring in the fourth when catcher Evan Gattis tattooed a first-pitch fastball into triples alley.
The deepest corner of right-center lived up to its name, as the hefty Gattis found himself standing at third after Freddy Freeman easily scored from first after reaching on a single.
Freeman, who went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, was also involved when the Braves scored in the bottom of the sixth, knocking in Jason Heyward from second on a bloop single to right.
A terrific throw from Hunter Pence easily beat the charging Heyward, but he managed to somehow slide under the tag of a reaching Buster Posey, putting Atlanta up 2-0.
The Giants challenged the close call but it was quickly rejected. Bochy talked about the difficulty of the play from Posey’s standpoint:
“When you catch the ball you’re just trying to figure you where (Heyward) is at. It was one of those plays where he thought he had him easily and (Heyward) did a good job of avoiding the tag. …Maybe take a little bit more away to make sure we do apply the tag before he hits home plate.”
The Braves rallied with two outs later in the inning, scoring on RBI singles from B.J. Upton and Andrelton Simmons, extending the lead to 4-0 and ending Vogelsong’s night.
The Giants looked most likely to score in the bottom of the sixth when Hunter Pence hit a fast grounder that barely found its way past the glove of a diving Simmons at short.
Pence extended the grounder into a double and Buster Posey came up with men on second and third with two outs. Minor (W, 1-2, 4.24 ERA) nixed any hope of a rally, getting Posey to strike out swinging on a high fastball.
The Braves bullpen also did a stellar job at stifling San Francisco at the plate. A combination of Ian Thomas, Anthony Varvaro and David Hale allowed two hits and no runs in 2-1/3 innings.
Atlanta added to their lead in the seventh when Freeman hit into a fielders choice, scoring Tyler Pastornicky from third base.
A funny moment happened during the seventh-inning stretch when an Atlanta replay challenge of their would-be third out resulted in the Braves’ at-bat being extended.
The crowd sang the first few bars before being relegated to their seats as the at-bat continued. The Giants got a quick out and everybody rose once again to take it from the top.
The Giants and Braves meet tomorrow at 12:45 p.m. for the deciding game of the series.