Fresh off a stint on the disabled list in an effort to ease the discomfort in his knee, Jair Jurrjens still has not managed to find his first-half form as the San Francisco Giants roughed him up for five runs sin his return for the Atlanta Braves.
Jurrjens gave up back-to-back doubles to Mike Fontenot and Pablo Sandoval in the first inning, but the wheels came off in the fourth.
Aubrey Huff led off with a double, which was followed by a Nate Schierholtz single that moved Huff to third. Orlando Cabrera singled to right to drive in Huff, and Brandon Belt walked to load the bases. Jurrjens gave up a single to Eli Whiteside to allow a second run with still no outs. Matt Cain and Cody Ross each hit sacrifice flies, and Brian McCann finally threw out Whiteside attempting to steal to get out of the inning.
In all, Jurrjens gave up five runs in six innings as he dropped to 12-5.
"I felt good," Jurrjens said. "Just leaving some pitches up, and the changeup wasn’t doing anything today. Just a little rusty."
Matt Cain, on the other hand, settled down nicely for the Giants after the first inning. Singles by Michael Bourn and McCann and an error by Sandoval on a grounder hit by Dan Uggla set up a Chipper Jones bases loaded walk. That was the only run Cain gave up in eight innings.
"We didn’t get him the first two or three innings," Fredi Gonzalez said. "We left some people on base, and after that he got comfortable."
The top of the ninth saw Scott Linebrink give up a lead-off walk to Ross and a double to Fontenot, which was followed by the Giants' third and fourth sacrifice flies from Sandoval and Huff.
The Giants then sent out Dan Runzler for the ninth with a five-run lead, but he would only get two outs while giving up a single to Freddie Freeman and walking Brooks Conrad before giving up an RBI single to Jason Heyward.
That resulted in Bruce Bochy replacing Runzler with Jeremy Affedlt, who should have gotten out of the jam when Michael Bourn chopped a ball up the middle that was booted by Orlando Cabrera that scored another run. That set up a two-run double by Martin Prado to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Brian McCann.
McCann had worked a 3-1 count, and it appeared that he took ball four on a curveball inside that was called strike two. After two foul balls on changeups, Affeldt struck out McCann on a fastball with the score 7-5.
The loss, coupled with the Philadelphia Phillies' win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, dropped the Braves to 8.5 games out of first place. The Giants were boosted to five games behind the Braves in the Wild Card race.
Atlanta will rely on Mike Minor (2-2, 4.84 ERA) to counter the Giants' Tim Lincecum (11-9, 2.84 ERA) to win the four-game series at 7:10 Thursday.
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