Bumgarner Not at His Best, but Giants Out-Slug Braves to Take the Series

On a scorching day in San Francisco, the Giants bats picked up Madison Bumgarner and torched Braves pitching in a 10-4 victory over Atlanta.

It was 79 degrees at first pitch, and the Braves bats were hot against Bumgarner right out of the gate (heat pun!). Tyler Pastonicky led off the game with a single, and Freddie Freeman doubled him to go put Atlanta on the board. With two outs, Chris Johnson collected his first RBI double of the day, and it was quickly 2-0 with the Giants coming up.

Turns out the San Francisco bats were warmed up as well, as they jumped all over Braves starter Julio Teheran. Gregor Blanco – starting in place of Angel Pagan, who was just getting a day off – walked to lead off before Hunter Pence crushed his third home run of the year to right-center field to tie the game at two. Pablo Sandoval hit a one-out single back up the middle, Michael Morse walked, and Brandon Crawford dropped a bloop single into left to give San Francisco a 3-2 lead.

Blanco got himself around the bases in the bottom of the second to extend the lead to 4-2. He stole second during Pence’s at-bat, stole third during Buster Posey’s at-bat, and came home when his steal forced a throwing error from Braves catcher Evan Gattis.

The Braves wouldn’t go down without a fight. Gattis and Johnson led off the top of the fourth with back-to-back doubles, and Andrelton Simmons hit a two-out triple, and the game was tied once again.

But the black and orange refused to stay behind in the ballgame and took the lead back in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Pence, Posey, and Sandoval hit back-to-back-to-back singles to make it a 5-4 game. Sandoval currently has a five-game hitting streak, and his RBI single was his eighth hit over that span. His average is now up to .203 after hovering in the .170s for much of the season. Pence is happy for his teammate’s recent success.

“This game is full of a lot of ups and downs, and he’s been battling through the tough times, and I’m really proud of him. I’m proud of the way he’s carrying himself. The charisma that he always brings, and his energy’s always up there. He’s playing hard defense, he’s grinding, and now the swing…he’s starting to hit some good line drives and have some great at-bats…It’s awesome to see him start to find some holes.”

That run was enough to knock Teheran out of the game after going just three-and-a-third innings, allowing seven hits, five runs (four earned), five walks, while striking out four. He threw 84 pitches, 51 strikes. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Braves right hander had recorded a quality start in all seven of his starts this season.

The fifth run also earned Bumgarner his fifth win of the year, despite not having his best stuff. The lefty labored through much of the game, but gritted out five innings, giving up four runs, one walk, and five strikeouts on 96 pitches (54 strikes). Bumgarner was grateful to his teammates.

“I tell you what, the offense picked me up today big time. They played their butts off and battled nine innings. They didn’t take an inning off, they were scrapping the whole game. And that’s awesome to see.”

San Francisco added some insurance in the next inning off of reliever Alex Wood. Crawford led off with a double, and Blanco delivered a two-out single to bring him home. Blanco then promptly stole second for his third stolen base on the day and came in to score on a Pence RBI single. Pence finished the day four-for-five with a home run and three RBIs. Morse joined the RBI party in the sixth, when he crushed his ninth home run of the season into the left field bleachers. The solo shot gave him nine bombs on the season, tied for the team lead with Brandon Belt.

Not to be left out, Crawford launched his second splash hit of the year in the eighth – a two-run shot that scored Colvin (who’d doubled) – to make it 10-4.

Manager Bruce Bochy said that responding quickly to being down early was crucial for the win – and his two lead-off guys played a major role.

“Great job. Both of them reeked havoc. The start of the first inning, Blanco –he’s be having his tough times, too – and he throws a nice at-bat up there…and Pence a huge day, obviously with his four hits. You get down two runs to this club with Teheran going, who’s throwing the ball very well, it’s nice to get back in it right away.”

The Giants bullpen continued its dominance, with Juan Gutierrez, Jean Machi, and Javier Lopez combining to throw four innings of no-hit baseball. San Francisco relievers now boast a 0.94 ERA at AT&T Park this season.

The Giants have now won both series against the Braves and are 5-1 against them this year. They’ll welcome the Miami Marlins for a four-game set starting Thursday night.