Giants hammer Braves with seven-run outburst

A round of gut-wrenching roster moves shook the Giants clubhouse this week; the front office bucked its trend of granting struggling veterans one too many passes when they designated for assignment Casey McGehee and 2014 postseason hero Travis Ishikawa.

More moves are expected on the pitching side with Jake Peavy starting his rehab assignment in Sacramento last night, and Matt Cain well on his way back into the mix.

The imminent moves shift pressure onto ‘temporary’ starters Ryan Vogelsong and rookie Chris Heston — both pitchers have had solid performances this May.

Heston (W, 5-3, 3.82 ERA) made the front office’s decision a bit tougher in Thursday’s 7-0 win over the Braves with a 7-1/3 inning, four-hit and no-run performance, fanning six batters along his way.

The scoring didn’t start until the seventh inning, when Brandon Belt cracked a 1-2 fastball off Braves starter Shelby Miller (L, 5-2, 1.48 ERA) into the right field stands for a 1-0 Giants lead.

The runs kept rolling in the eighth inning. The Giants loaded the bases on reliever Brandon Cuniff after Matt Duffy walked, Gregor Blanco singled and Nori Aoki reached on a sneaky bunt. Joe Panik knocked in two more runs with a double to right field to make the score 3-0.

Hunter Pence continued the rally, plating Aoki and Panik with a two-run triple to make it 5-0. A wild pitch to Brandon Belt brought Pence home from third to put the Giants up 6-0. And for that final dagger, Crawford notched an RBI double that hopped over the center field fence to score Belt.

To top off Heston’s brilliance, the bullpen stuffed the Braves lineup. Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez combined for 2-2/3 hitless innings. Lopez struck out two in the ninth to seal Game 1 of this four-game series.

The Giants continue this series on Friday at 7:15 p.m., sending former Brave Tim Hudson (2-4, 5.04 ERA) to the mound against Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 4.25 ERA).