Hudson's arm, Posey's bat topple Braves
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants' scoreless-innings streak at AT&T Park ended Friday night, but their run of overall success at home remained very much alive.
Tim Hudson pitched seven stingy innings to gain his first career victory over the Atlanta Braves and benefited from Buster Posey's three RBIs as the Giants prevailed, 4-2. The outcome lengthened the Giants' home winning streak to six games and their overall winning streak to five as they climbed atop the National League West standings, a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Obviously, the Dodgers are a great club," Hudson said. "They have a lot of talent over there. But we're capable of beating anybody on any given night."
Though Atlanta generated a third-inning run to snap the Giants' home scoreless-innings streak at 39, Hudson (3-4) allowed just one runner past first base through the rest of his outing. Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz cruised through 6 2/3 innings after yielding Posey's two-run homer in the first. But Atlanta reliever Jim Johnson surrendered a pair of eighth-inning runs as Posey lashed a run-scoring double and came across on Brandon Crawford's single.
"They've got a one-run lead [entering the bottom of the eighth] and you figure anything can happen," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They were able to add on like they did [Thursday] and like the Dodgers did earlier in the road trip in the eighth inning. So we need to figure that out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Follow the bouncing ball: Joe Panik didn't make much contact with Foltynewicz's 2-1 fastball in the first inning, but he got just enough of it to chop it over the mound for a single. Foltynewicz made a futile attempt to catch the ball, which went off his glove. That set up Posey's two-out home run.
Finding a groove: After allowing a pair of singles to begin the bottom of the second, Foltynewicz got Matt Duffy to ground into a double play. That marked the first of 11 consecutive batters he retired before walking Nori Aoki to begin the sixth inning. The rookie hurler notched three of his career-high eight strikeouts in the seventh inning, but two were recorded with curveballs that resulted in wild pitches that allowed the batter to reach. But the threat was averted when Luis Avilan ended the seventh by inducing Aoki's bases-loaded groundout. More >
Decisive defense: The Giants made no spectacular defensive plays, but they properly executed all of the routine ones. For that, Hudson was deeply grateful.
"Our defense played great tonight," he said. "All the way to the end, we made plays that kept me out of some jams. It's something we've grown accustomed to here." Hudson helped set the tone by covering first base to complete a double play that concluded the first inning.
J.J.'s eighth: Trailing by one run in the eighth, the Braves handed the ball to Johnson, who had allowed just one run and eight hits in his past 14 1/3 innings. But instead of extending his recent success, the setup man issued a leadoff walk to Panik and then surrendered the run-scoring hits by Posey and Crawford. The two-run frame proved costly when Freddie Freeman hit a monstrous solo homer in the ninth against Santiago Casilla.
"Today he had his sinker going. I don't know how many ground balls we pounded into the ground, but it seemed like it was a lot and he competed. That's him. The competitive fire is there. I know he's close to 40 years old, but he competes and he gave them a great outing." -- Gonzalez on Hudson
Freeman's ninth-inning solo shot to dead center field was reminiscent of some of the ones Barry Bonds hit at this park. According to Statcast™, the ball had an exit velocity of 106 mph and was projected by Statcast™ to land 430 feet away. More importantly for the Braves first baseman, it helped him regain some of the confidence he had lost while hitting just .193 over his previous 15 games.
Braves: Williams Perez will make his third career start when Atlanta and San Francisco resume the four-game series Saturday night. Despite encountering frequent trouble in his past two starts, Perez has allowed just two runs in 11 innings as a starter.
Giants: Keeping the ball in the ballpark will be Tim Lincecum's primary goal when he confronts Atlanta on Saturday. In his previous outing last Monday at Milwaukee, Lincecum matched a career high by yielding three home runs. San Francisco is 5-4 when Lincecum starts.
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