ATLANTA — During the second half of the season, the Giants are keeping hope that starter Kevin Gossman will regain the Cy Young-caliber form that helped them build their first All-Star team this year.
Gossman wasn’t back to his old self early Friday in Atlanta, but his two-ball six against the first-placed Braves club marked a major step forward for one of the Giants’ most important weapons.
That move came one night when the Giants’ bullpen stumbled.
Left-hander Tony Watson and right-hander Jack Littel combined to give away four runs in the bottom of the seventh as George Soler’s three-run home run helped the Braves break the San Francisco winning streak to four games. led to a 6-5 defeat. .
The Braves took a 6–4 lead as they entered the ninth, but Wilmer Flores brought the Giants within a run as he sent a 3–1 offer from Will Smith’s close into the left field bleachers. With two outs, Tommy La Stella lines up a deep flyball in right field, but Braves outfielder Jock Pedersen made a sensational jump against the wall to rob the Giants’ extra baseman and end the game.
The loss came with some added worry as third baseman Kris Bryant was kicked out of the game at the bottom of the first after a 35-minute rain delay. The Giants did not give a reason for Bryant to leave early, but manager Gabe Kapler is expected to provide an update on Friday evening.
A Giants bullpen that has been the best of the majors since June 1 and owns the second-best bullpen era this season behind the Milwaukee Brewers, is still capable of having a bad day at the office. Qualified on Friday.
After Gossman went over the line for the win, Watson issued a one-out walk to Jock Pedersen and delivered a groundball single to pinch-hitter Guillermo Heredia. With switch-hitter Ozzy Albiz at the plate, Kapler chose his seasoned reliever to face a player who has a better track record against lefties than right wingers.
Albiz paid off the Giants with an RBI double that convinced Kapler to turn to Littel, who pushed the first pitch to Soler for a three-run home run. Littel wanted to go up into the zone with his fastball, but Soler grabbed the pitch and redirected it into the bleachers of left center field.
A late rally from the Braves spoiled Gossman’s best outing since their August 4 win over the Diamondbacks and cost the Giants a night, they took the opening 3-0 in large part for a big swing from catcher Buster Posey. took the lead.
After crashing out of Tuesday’s game in New York in the fifth inning and sitting out the final two games of the series, Posey returned to the starting lineup on Friday by swinging Braves starter Max Fried on a 3-0 sinker and a high, arching drive. Congratulations sent. right below the field line.
Posey’s flyball was not hit particularly well, but the ball passed over the right field fence and stalled inside the foul pole for a two-run home run. Posey’s 16th homer of the season left the bat with a 44-degree launch angle, which is the highest recorded launch angle on a Posey home run since Statcast began tracking batted ball data in 2015.
Of 156 career home runs, Posey scored only the third in Friday’s first innings that came on a 3-0 pitch. The Giants have been one of the most aggressive teams against a 3-0 offer this season, as San Francisco’s nine hits and 19 balls in play on 3-0 pitches are second only to the Toronto Blue Jays in each category.
The Giants added against Fried in the second innings as Gaussman helped himself out by laying a bunt on the 0-2 pitch, putting pressure on Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud to make a play. Attempting to knock out lead runner Mike Yastrzemski at third base, d’Arnaud hastened his throw and sent the ball down the left field line, allowing Yastrzemski to score.
An Austin Slater double play ball prevented Thyro Estrada from scoring with just one out from third base, but Estrada was able to sprint home later in the game when La Stella hit a right field corner with two outs in fourth. Lined up a 0-2 curveball. Pari Estrada ran around from first base to give the Giants a 4-2 lead, which Gossman was able to preserve with three more solid, skilful innings of work.
The right-hander struggled a bit in the opening innings, keeping his fastball near the top of the strike zone, but he made the final 11 hitters by lifting his four-seamer and keeping the Braves hitters off balance with his splitter. faced. .