The San Francisco Giants ended a long road trip and a long night with a 12-11 loss to the Braves in the new bandbox known as Sun Trust Park.
The game started with an hour-and-26-minute rain delay–the third rain delay of this series. Once the game got underway, the Braves got to Matt Cain early, as Nick Markakis homered deep to right field to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. Markakis’ blast was the first of seven home runs hit in the game.
The Giants quickly responded in the second. Buster Posey led off the inning with a 311-foot home run down the right-field line that looked like a lazy fly ball off the crack of the bat. Later in the inning, Matt Cain helped his own cause with a two-run double into right-centerfield to give the Giants the lead. The Giants added on a pair of runs in the third on doubles from Posey and Austin Slater.
Matt Cain continued to struggle. Markakis singled in a run in the bottom of the third to close the gap to 5-3, and Matt Adams homered to lead off the bottom of the fourth. Adams’ home run made the score 5-4, and then the Braves got runners to second and third with just one out. The Braves seemed poised to get to Cain, but he got out of the inning with a pair of groundouts
Joe Panik homered to lead off the fifth, and after Posey hit his second double of the game later in the inning, the Giants knocked Jaime Garcia out of the game. Garcia, who had normally pitched well against the Giants, lasted just four-and-a-third innings, while giving up seven hits and six runs.
However, the Giants were unable to capitalize on Posey’s double, and the Braves finally broke through against Cain in the bottom of the fifth. The eight-run inning, which was the the second inning in this series in which the Braves scored at least seven runs, started off with a home run by Brandon Phillips. Markakis and Matt Kemp both singled, and that did it for Matt Cain. Cain’s road struggles continued, as he went four-plus innings, giving up 10 hits and seven runs. Cain also took his seventh loss of the season.
Bryan Morris came in to take over for Cain, and he was not greeted warmly. Adams singled in Markakis to tie the game, and Kurt Suzuki singled in pinch-runner Danny Santana to give the Braves the lead. Both RBI hits came with two strikes, and the inning continued to worsen. Dansby Swanson singled to load the bases, and after Johan Camargo knocked in Matt Adams with a sacrifice fly, Lane Adams hit his first major league home run.
The home run for Lane Adams blew the game open for the time being. The Braves staged another rally, and Bruce Bochy went to Kyle Crick for his long-awaited major league debut. Crick got a rude welcoming to the big leagues, as Santana hit an RBI single to make the score 12-6. That run was charged to Morris, and Crick set down the next seven hitters he faced, much to the delight of his family in the stands.
This game was far from over. Brandon Belt, who came in on a double switch, hit his 13th home run with one out in the top of the eighth. Braves’ left-fielder Lane Adams then dropped a routine fly ball off the bat of Kelby Tomlinson. The Giants made the error hurt, as Joe Panik knocked in Tomlinson with a single, Hunter Pence doubled Panik to third, and Posey knocked in Panik with a ground ball to short. For Posey, it was his third RBI of the game. The score was 12-9, and the Giants were right back in the game.
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Jim Johnson, who suffered his fifth blown save of the year Wednesday night, came in for the ninth, and fittingly the Giants threatened. Nick Hundley and pinch-hitter Denard Span both hit bloop singles, and Brandon Belt walked to load the bases. The Braves then committed another defensive miscue, as on a ground ball to second by Tomlinson, second-baseman Danny Santana had Brandon Belt nailed between first and second, and for whatever reason gave up on the lead runner to try and get the speedy Tomlinson, who beat out the throw. Everybody was safe, and suddenly, it was 12-10.
Joe Panik knocked in Span with a sacrifice fly to make it 12-11, and then it was up to Hunter Pence, who hit the game-tying home run off Johnson Wednesday night. However, Johnson got the best of Pence this time as Pence grounded out to second to end the game.
Jason Hursh, who finished the top of the fifth, got the win, and it was his first major league win. Cain got the loss, and Johnson got his 14th save.
The Giants record is now 27-48, and they are now 21 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 29, 2007. The Giants ended up going 1-6 on the road trip.
The Giants will hop on a redeye cross-country flight back home, and they will kick off a six-game home stand Friday night. The New York Mets will be in for three games over the weekend, and then the Colorado Rockies will come in for three games beginning Monday night.
With a loss on Friday, the Giants would be 22 games under .500 for the first time since 1996. Ty Blach will take the ball Friday against the Mets, trying to prevent that. The first pitch will be at 7:15 p.m. PDT.