Pence, Morse, Crawford Homer, Giants Pound Braves To Win Series
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Gregor Blanco supplied the speed. Hunter Pence, Michael Morse and Brandon Crawford provided the pop. And on a warm, windless afternoon along the bay, AT&T Park played awfully small for the Giants.
Pence, Morse and Crawford homered as Blanco accomplished a rare feat on the bases, powering San Francisco past the Atlanta Braves 10-4 on Wednesday.
“It’s always fun to score a lot of runs,” Crawford said.
Blanco became the fourth player for San Francisco to steal three bases and score three runs in a game. Bobby Bonds, Kevin Mitchell and Darren Lewis are the others.
“He wreaked havoc,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Blanco, best known for his defense during the 2012 World Series, had struggled most of the season. But with center fielder Angel Pagan given a day off to rest his sore right knee, Blanco got back to doing what he does best: getting on base and being aggressive.
“That’s the kind of player I am. That’s how I can be every single day,” said Blanco, who singled and walked twice from the leadoff spot. “I just was out of my game a little bit and I just reminded myself, ‘This is who you are. This is the kind of player you should be.'”
The scoring surge gave Madison Bumgarner (5-3) more than enough room for error. Bumgarner allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, striking out five and walking one.
Three relievers kept the Braves scoreless over the final four innings as the Giants continued to dominate the matchup of NL division leaders. San Francisco finished 5-1 against Atlanta this season.
“The offense picked me up today big time,” Bumgarner said.
Julio Teheran (2-3) lasted only 3 1-3 innings for the Braves. He gave up five runs — four earned — and seven hits in his second loss to the Giants this season.
“I had a hard time with my grip here and in Los Angeles,” Teheran said. “I was trying to find a way to get through it. It’s not an excuse. It’s this type of weather. I had a hard time.”
The Giants totaled 15 hits and six walks in an all-around display of offense.
Pence finished with four hits and three RBIs, Crawford collected three hits and three RBIs, and Morse tied the injured Brandon Belt for the team lead with nine home runs.
Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson hit RBI doubles to give the Braves a 2-0 lead in the first. The Giants responded in the bottom half, scoring three runs, sending nine batters to the plate and forcing Teheran to throw 41 pitches.
Blanco extended San Francisco’s lead to 4-2 when he walked leading off the second, stole second and third and scored after catcher Evan Gattis sailed his throw to third into left field.
The Braves had three extra-base hits in a two-run fourth capped by Andrelton Simmons’ tying two-out triple just past the glove of a diving Blanco in right-center.
In the fifth, the Braves landed on the wrong side of the transfer rule, which has come under increased scrutiny this season with baseball’s expanded replay. Second base umpire Ron Kulpa called out Tyler Pastornicky on a forceout, though Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez argued that Brandon Hicks never closed his glove before dropping the ball as he tried to throw to first for a double play.
“If I had to do it over, I could have asked that (the umpires) get together and ask for help. Maybe someone saw it differently,” Gonzalez said.
Blanco added to his big day in the fifth with an RBI single off Alex Wood, then stole second and scored on Pence’s two-out single. Morse stretched San Francisco’s lead to 8-4, and Crawford added a two-run homer with the 66th “splash hit” in Giants history into McCovey Cove in the eighth.
“I don’t think there were any cheap homers,” Pence said.
NOTES: Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval left the game in the sixth with a sore left big toe. He is expected to be in the lineup Thursday, Bochy said. … Braves CF B.J. Upton was ejected in the sixth after arguing with home plate umpire Lance Barrett following his third strikeout. … Braves RF Jason Heyward had the day off. … RHP Matt Cain (0-3, 4.25 ERA) starts for the Giants on Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Marlins. … The Braves are off Thursday before beginning a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday.
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