MLB LOOK AHEAD

Braves look to continue road trip success vs. Giants

The Sports Xchange

September 11, 2018 at 2:53 am.

SAN FRANCISCO — The Atlanta Braves will seek more late-game magic when they face the free-falling San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night in the middle meeting of a three-game series.

The Braves (80-64) scored once in the seventh inning and twice in the ninth to break from a 1-1 tie en route to a 4-1 victory in the series opener on Monday night.

The win was Atlanta’s fourth in five tries on a seven-game Western swing and pushed the Braves a season-best five games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies (74-68) in the National League East.

Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson continue a run of productive late-game plate appearances with a pair of sacrifice flies that accounted for Atlanta’s seventh-inning run and one of its ninth-inning tallies in the win.

The two RBIs ran the 24-year-old’s season total to a career-best 57, 26 of which have come in the seventh through ninth innings. He’s hitting .323 in those innings.

Both sacrifice flies scored Ozzie Albies, who had doubled and tripled to put himself in scoring position. He now has 19 extra-base hits — 12 doubles, two triples and five home runs — in the seventh through ninth innings.

The three late runs raised the Braves’ season total in the seventh through ninth to 232, just one fewer than the NL-leading Chicago Cubs.

The Braves will look to pad their total against Giants rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez (6-10, 4.33) and/or a San Francisco bullpen that’s been leaking oil of late.

Suarez recorded his first major-league win in Atlanta on May 6, limiting the Braves to one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings.

He left with a three-run lead, then almost saw his win evaporate into thin air when Atlanta got rolling offensively late in the game, scoring twice off Giants closer Hunter Strickland in the ninth before stranding the potential tying run at third base.

The outing was the only time Suarez has faced the Braves.

Strickland has been a part of a Giants bullpen that has contributed big-time to the team’s current nine-game losing streak.

The bullpen has allowed 15 runs in 24 2/3 innings (5.47 ERA) in those games, registering two blown saves and four losses.

Strickland has allowed at least one run in six of his last nine appearances, including the two in the ninth inning Monday against the Braves.

Atlanta will counter Tuesday with right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (10-9, 2.75), who has a 2-3 lifetime record and a 5.35 ERA in six starts against the Giants.

Those numbers got worse when he pitched in a 9-4 loss home to San Francisco in May and got hammered for a six-run second inning.

The Giants swept that three-game series in Atlanta.

The late start on the West Coast on Tuesday night will give the Braves an opportunity to do some serious scoreboard-watching as their chief rival in the East, the Phillies, play a double-header against the Washington Nationals that starts at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time.

The double-header was the result of a postponement Monday due to a soggy field.

 

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