The San Francisco Giants opened up this tough road trip right – with a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night.
The black and orange took advantage of a strong start by Tim Lincecum, and two solo home runs gave them all the offense they’d need.
For the second time this week, Angel Pagan got the Giants on the board immediately, launching a solo shot over the fence in left field to make it 1-0. It’s the third home run of the season for him and the eighth time he’s done it to lead off a game.
It remained a one-run game until the bottom of the fifth. Lincecum walked the lead-off batter Gerald Laird. With one out, Jason Heyward collected one of his three hits, moving Laird to second before Giant-killer Freddie Freeman took a page from San Francisco’s book and knocked a two-out single to tie the game.
But that would be the only run the Braves could muster against Giants pitching. For the sixth time in the last nine games, a San Francisco starter turned in a quality start. On Friday night, it was Lincecum’s turn, as he tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing six hits, walking three, and striking out four. Lincecum has recorded at least one strikeout in all of his 225 starts (per Hank Schulman). The right-hander is now 2-1 with a 5.12 ERA on the season.
Atlanta starter Mike Minor also turned in a great performance in his first start of 2014, also going six innings and striking out four. But he allowed one more hit than Lincecum, and that one hit proved to be enough to hand him the loss. In the top of the sixth, Michael Morse crushed an opposite-field home run to give the Giants the lead and their league-leading 23rd road homer.
Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Sergio Romo allowed just two hits in the final three innings. Things got a little dicey for Romo as he tried to collect his eighth save of the season. With two outs, BJ Upton singled, and Freeman worked a walk. But after a battle of an at-bat, Romo finally got Justin Upton to ground out to end the game.
The Giants are now 7-1 in their last eight games and couldn’t have opened this tough road trip any better. They have two more in Atlanta before heading to Pittsburgh and to Los Angeles to face the division-rival Dodgers.
Notes: Hunter Pence starter his 200th consecutive game on Friday night, the longest current streak in the National League. He also collected a first-inning single, extending his hitting streak to ten games. …Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-4 but has come to the plate with 66 runners on base and has only driven in four.