National League Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, July 19th (All times eastern)
San Francisco Giants (51-40) at Atlanta Braves (49-41), 12:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: San Francisco - Madison Bumgarner (11-5, 3.15) Atlanta - Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.80)
(Sports Network) - Madison Bumgarner has been living high on the hog pitching at home. The same cannot be said as the visitor, however.
Bumgarner will lead the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants into the finale of a three-game series today against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The young left-hander is 7-1 with a 1.81 earned run average in eight starts by the bay, but 4-4 with a 4.43 ERA in 10 starts on the road.
A first-round draft pick of the Giants back in 2007, Bumgarner is coming off seven innings of one-run ball in a 5-1 victory at home over Houston last Friday. He struck out five and walked two batters, improving to 6-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his last eight starts and 11-5 in 18 outings overall. Bumgarner bounced back nicely from a disastrous start the previous time out when he gave up seven runs and nine hits in five innings of a 9-4 loss at Washington.
In two career starts against the Braves, Bumgarner is winless (0-1) with a 4.66 ERA.
Countering for the Braves will be Tim Hudson. Hudson is coming off the shortest outing of the season, a 7-5 loss to the New York Mets in which he was tagged for four runs and eight hits in four innings of work for a no-decision.
Hudson, who tossed seven scoreless innings for a win at Philadelphia on July 6, has won four of his past six decisions and is 3-3 in eight starts at Turner Field this season. The veteran right-hander has made 15 career starts against the Giants, going 6-4 with a 3.34 earned run average.
The Giants ran their winning streak to five games with Wednesday's 9-4 win in 11 innings, using a six-run frame in the top of the 11th to put the Braves away. Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco both hit three-run homers to give San Francisco a big cushion heading into the bottom of the frame.
"We always seem to play exciting games. That one was up on the top for me," Crawford said.
Braves veteran Chipper Jones hit a leadoff homer, but that was all Atlanta could muster in the final inning. Melky Cabrera also homered and Buster Posey recorded three hits for the Giants, who have a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division. Ryan Vogelsong threw six innings of one-run ball in the start and Santiago Casilla earned the win.
The Giants moved to 6-1 in extra inning games this year. Posey is batting .571 (12-for-21) with 11 RBI since the break and is 6-for-9 with seven runs batted in over the last two games of this series.
San Francisco, which hasn't swept the Braves on the road since June 27-29 1988, will visit Philadelphia for three games over the weekend.
Atlanta has dropped back-to-back games since winning seven in a row and got home runs from Jones, Brian McCann and Juan Francisco in the loss. Mike Minor pitched well in the no-decision, as he allowed one run in six innings.
Anthony Varvaro was saddled with the loss and Chad Durbin allowed both home runs in the top of the 11th.
"It's an unfortunate loss," said Jones, who tied George Brett for the most RBI (1,596) by a player whose primary position was third base. "It was a well- played game until the last couple of innings. It seemed like we had some magic left in the tank there late. But obviously when you give up six runs in extra innings, it's going to spell your doom."
The Braves sit 4 1/2 games behind Washington for the NL East lead and are 3-2 on a six-game homestand. They will open a seven-game trek against Washington and Miami tomorrow.
Atlanta won six of seven matchups with the Giants a year ago.
07/19 11:06:14 ET