video thumbnail

STL@ATL: Floyd allows one earned in Braves debut

The Giants' three-game sweep in Atlanta from May 2-4 demonstrated how they've succeeded so far this season.

But they don't necessarily want to repeat the methods they used the first time around against the Braves, who visit San Francisco for a three-game rematch beginning on Monday at AT&T Park.

As has been the case much of this season, the Giants generated minimal offense. They won by scores of 2-1, 3-1 and 4-1. All but one of their runs against the Braves resulted from homers. They even made history by sweeping a series while not recording a base hit with runners in scoring position.

San Francisco went 0-for-13 in those situations, becoming the first Major League team to sweep a series of three or more games without registering a hit with a runner on second or third base since San Diego, in the first series in the franchise's history, took three in a row from Houston from April 8-10, 1969, while going hitless in 14 scoring-position at-bats.

That sweep of the Braves propelled the Giants to a 7-3 trip against three opponents -- Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, as well as Atlanta -- that qualified for the postseason in 2013. But as well as the Giants performed on their journey, conventional wisdom dictates that they won't survive unless they pick up their offensive pace.

San Francisco scored three runs or fewer in seven of the 10 games on the trip. They also have gone 38-for-197 with runners in scoring position in their last 28 games.

Meanwhile, the Braves have revenge on their minds. Following a sweep of the Cubs, they feel their bats are starting to come around.

Right fielder Jason Heyward believes that having seen the Giants recently is a good thing.

"We've just seen them and have seen their pitchers," Heyward said. "I believe we're going to get the same three guys that we got last time [Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner]."

Braves: Heyward ready for 'Freak' occurrence
Heyward might be especially happy to see Lincecum, who will start Monday night's series opener opposite Gavin Floyd. The right fielder has a .353 career batting average against Lincecum (6-for-17, with a double and five walks) and had three of Atlanta's eight hits in the May 2 meeting, including two of six off Lincecum.

"It happens for some guys. Some guys you just see better than others," Heyward said. "For me, I happen to catch him when he's not throwing 95, 96 [mph] with the overbearing curveball. I just try to put together good ABs and keep it simple against him."

Giants: Clean defense paying off
The Giants have demonstrated a knack for making spectacular plays, but they've also made the routine ones, which explains much of their improvement.

They've played a season-high five consecutive games without an error. Entering Sunday, their .987 fielding percentage since April 10, when they committed a season-high three errors, was the fifth-highest in the Major Leagues.

During their 7-3 trip to Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, San Francisco turned 15 double plays. That hiked their total to 43, the third-most in the National League.

Worth noting
• Giants center fielder Angel Pagan recorded his 14th multiple-hit game of the season on Sunday.

• Before squandering his first save opportunity in 13 tries on Sunday, Giants closer Sergio Romo had eight consecutive scoreless appearances, spanning 7 1/3 innings.

• Of Pablo Sandoval's eight RBIs this season, six have come in 10 games against the Dodgers.

MLB.com Comments