Braves score in 9th to top Giants, sweep series

Braves score in 9th to top Giants, sweep series

SAN FRANCISCO — The last time the Braves flew across the country, a somber mood filled the plane following a tear-jerking loss to the Red Sox. The flight cabin figures to be much more fun this time around, as the Braves capped off a sweep and stellar 6-1 road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday.

The victory pushed the Braves’ lead in the National League East to a season-best seven games, pending the outcome of Wednesday night’s Phillies game against the Nationals, while shrinking Atlanta’s magic number to 11. Meanwhile, the Giants suffered their 11th straight loss to set a franchise record since the club moved West in 1958.


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SAN FRANCISCO — The last time the Braves flew across the country, a somber mood filled the plane following a tear-jerking loss to the Red Sox. The flight cabin figures to be much more fun this time around, as the Braves capped off a sweep and stellar 6-1 road trip with a 2-1 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park on Wednesday.

The victory pushed the Braves’ lead in the National League East to a season-best seven games, pending the outcome of Wednesday night’s Phillies game against the Nationals, while shrinking Atlanta’s magic number to 11. Meanwhile, the Giants suffered their 11th straight loss to set a franchise record since the club moved West in 1958.


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Tyler Flowers delivered a pinch-hit go-ahead RBI single in the ninth. He hustled down the line after Evan Longoria‘s throw from third base pulled Brandon Belt off the bag. The Giants quickly challenged the call, but replay officials couldn’t definitively determine that Belt’s toe was on the bag when he caught the ball, so the call stood. Starting in place of Johan Camargo (left groin tightness), Culberson scored the game-winning run.

A day after Mike Foltynewicz nearly notched a shutout, Braves righty Anibal Sanchez played with fire in the first inning. Sanchez issued consecutive walks to load the bases, but Brandon Crawford grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to kill the threat. A similar scenario played out in the fourth, when Sanchez allowed a single and two walks (including one to Giants starter Derek Holland) to load the bases. As he did in the first inning, Ozzie Albies started a 4-6-3 double play to allow the Braves to escape the jam, this time off the bat of Joe Panik.

Sanchez had an injury scare in the sixth inning when Gregor Blanco stepped on his foot as he grounded out trying to run out an infield single, but he finished off the frame. Despite allowing six hits and a season-high five walks, Sanchez limited the Giants to just one run over six innings while lowering his ERA to 3.01.

Freddie Freeman notched a hit on his birthday for the eighth straight year, as he went 2-for-4 with a game-tying RBI single in the sixth, a sharp hit up the middle that scored Albies from second.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Aside from aiding Sanchez, Albies also bailed out Jesse Biddle in the seventh when he made a ranging play to his left to retire Crawford and save a run. Given the spot in the game, Freeman called it one of the most impressive plays he’s seen Albies make. Snitker shared some high praise after another sterling performance by Albies in the field.

“I keep talking about him and gold,” Snitker said. “From what I’ve seen this year, he’s a Gold Glover.”

SOUND SMART
Freeman notched a hit on his birthday for the eighth straight year, as he went 2-for-4 with a game-tying RBI single in the sixth, a sharp hit up the middle that scored Albies from second. For his career, Freeman is slashing .484/.514/.727 on his birthday with eight RBIs in nine games.

“I had no idea,” Freeman said. “Hopefully it continues next year.”

UP NEXT
In Friday’s series opener against the Nationals (7:35 p.m. ET at SunTrust Park), Kevin Gausman (9-10, 3.89 ERA) looks to rebound from his worst start since joining the Braves at the non-waiver Trade Deadline. Gausman owns a 2.32 ERA in seven starts with Atlanta, but he gave up four runs over 4 2/3 innings in his last outing against the D-backs. Third baseman Johan Camargo (left groin tightness) is expected to test out his injury Friday, and he is optimistic he’ll be able to return after sitting out Wednesday and resting during Thursday’s off-day. Washington hasn’t announced a starter.

Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.

Published at Wed, 12 Sep 2018 23:10:49 +0000

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