In a mid-season matchup that could end up being a preview of the playoffs, the SF Giants kept things close each game with the reigning World Series champions.
After suffering a pair of walk-off losses sandwiched around a slugfest win, the Giants fell behind quickly in the series finale as Alex Wood didn't record an out in the second inning, and despite a late threat they came up short in a 7-6 loss.
The visitors appeared ready to get things off to a good start, as they loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first. A double play ended that threat, and Dansby Swanson led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run for the Atlanta Braves.
San Francisco plated one in the second to tie the game as Curt Casali drove in Thairo Estrada with a single after Austin Slater hit into a twin killing, but things went south for Wood in the home half.
The southpaw walked a pair and allowed an infield hit to load the bases, then a base hit to right scored a run. A hit-by-pitch knocked in Atlanta's second run of the frame, then Travis d'Arnaud singled to score two and drive Wood from the game. The fifth Braves run of the inning scored when reliever Zack Littell allowed a sacrifice fly, but he escaped without any further damage.
Atlanta added one more run in the fourth as Swanson's second blast of the afternoon made it 7-1, but Slater got that run back in the fifth with a leadoff home run.
SF Giants added more but were unlucky in the sixth
The Giants pulled closer in the sixth as they loaded the bases with no outs, and an Estrada fielder's choice scored one before Tommy La Stella doubled to add another run to make it 7-4. La Stella's double could have been good for two RBI, but it skipped up into the stands along the left field line for an automatic double, preventing speedy Estrada from scoring from first. The two were then stranded as a pair of strikeouts ended the inning.
In the eighth inning the Giants again rallied. A pair of singles opened the frame, and after a lineout Slater drove in Evan Longoria to pull the Orange and Black within two. However, with two on and just one out the bats again failed to capitalize, with a strikeout and fly out ending the frame.
The first two batters against longtime nemesis Kenley Jansen were retired in the top of the ninth, but Joc Pederson gave one final goodbye for the regular season to the fans he helped thrill with a championship last year, launching his 16th home run of the season over the right field fence to make it a one-run game. Two pitches later the game was over with Longoria flying out.
As the dust settled on the series, it was apparent the Giants were just a few pitches or swings from pulling off a sweep. Instead, losing three out of four games has the team 5.5 games back in the NL West as Los Angeles finished off a three-game sweep of the lowly Cincinnati Reds.
The Giants return home and host the Reds starting Friday night.