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Film work helps Cueto in start vs. Braves

MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Johnny Cueto hit the film room before his start against the Braves and learned that he needed to be more aggressive.

In watching clips from his stellar 2016 season, he noted that he attacked the strike zone more, and that's just what he did Monday against the Braves in the Giants' 9-0 loss at SunTrust Park. Cueto fired seven strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits.

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ATLANTA -- Johnny Cueto hit the film room before his start against the Braves and learned that he needed to be more aggressive.

In watching clips from his stellar 2016 season, he noted that he attacked the strike zone more, and that's just what he did Monday against the Braves in the Giants' 9-0 loss at SunTrust Park. Cueto fired seven strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits.

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"It's sad that we lost the way we lost," Cueto said through an interpreter. "Everything was working fine, and I was working the way I wanted to. You saw Johnny Cueto pitching today."

Cueto threw 75 of his 99 pitches for strikes, recording four strikeouts and no walks. He also showed plenty of movement on his two-seam fastball. According to Statcast™, the fastball averaged 91.3 mph and was used to get nine called strikes against the Braves.

Monday's performance was a marked improvement over his recent outings, as he had posted a 5.19 ERA over his six previous starts, with 10 walks and eight homers allowed during that span.

Video: SF@ATL: Cueto makes a nice tumbling stop for the out

"He really threw the ball well and deserved better," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was a great job by Johnny. A couple pitches came back down and in to the left-handed hitters and they didn't miss them. But he threw the ball great."

Meanwhile, the Giants' bats were being riddled by R.A. Dickey's knuckleball, and the Giants' bullpen allowed seven runs after Cueto's departure.

The loss puts the Giants 20 games under .500 and searching for answers as the season closes in on the midway point.

"We have to play better baseball," Bochy said. "We made mistakes defensively and we haven't executed; we have to get runners in. It's a two-run game and we let the game get out of hand. Bullpen has to tighten it up, too, and that is the tough part of this game. We had a chance there, and we couldn't get three outs there in the eighth inning."

Cueto believes the Giants can turn it around.

"We have plenty of games left, and I know there's a winning streak there somewhere," Cueto said.

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Giants on Monday.

San Francisco Giants, Johnny Cueto