SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Patrick Bailey hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the fifth inning, fellow rookie Casey Schmitt hit his first homer in 3 1/2 months, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 8-5 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The Giants won for just the sixth time in their last 20 games to slow a slide that has dropped them out of a wild card position after they once held the top spot.
Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna hit his 29th home run to break a tie with Ronald Acuña Jr. for second-most on the team behind Matt Olson (30). The Braves had won four in a row.
Reliever Scott Alexander (7-2) pitched 1 1/3 innings to pick up the win. Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers got the next seven outs, and Camilo Doval pitched a perfect ninth for his 34th save — snapping a streak of four consecutive blown chances.
The Braves trailed 2-0 before taking the lead in the fifth on Travis d’Arnaud’s two-run single against Tristan Beck, and Nicky Lopez’s go-ahead RBI single against Alexander. Beck had retired the first 12 hitters in first major league start before walking Olson to start the inning.
Luis Matos doubled against starter Jared Shuster (4-3) with one out in the bottom of the fifth. After Collin McHugh came on one out later with two runners on, Wilmer Flores and J.D. Davis drew walks to force in the tying run. Bailey then ripped a double past Olson at first that cleared the bases to give the Giants a 6-3 lead.
“That hit was pretty cathartic because we just haven’t gotten that one blow that changes the score in a big way for us,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s been a while since we cleared the bases with a double. It was a big deal. It was kind of a relief to everybody in the dugout.”
Austin Slater and Thairo Estrada added RBI hits for the Giants in the sixth. Estrada bunted for his single and made several stellar defensive plays to back his words from a pregame meeting that he called to remind everyone to play team baseball and not let one discouraging moment in a game fester.
One heads-up Estrada move, racing a long way from his position to cover first base on an Acuña groundball when neither first baseman J.D. Davis nor the pitcher Alexander could beat Acuña to the bag, helped the Giants turn an unusual 3-1-4-2 double play that prevented Atlanta from expanding a three-run fifth.
“He made some amazing plays out there at second base that kept us in the game,” Beck said. “He’s a guy I look up to on this team, and when he speaks it carries a lot of weight. I loved the message, and we went out there and just delivered. I think it’s a different game if Thairo’s not playing as hard out there at second.”
Braves manager Brian Snitker ran the game with one eye toward seven upcoming games at Colorado and Los Angeles, as he explained when asked why he left McHugh in the game long enough to walk four and allow four runs.
“We’ve got a rough week ahead of us,” Snitker said. “We didn’t really want to beat up any of those other guys chasing a win.”
The Giants honored their longest-tenured and one of their most beloved employees, clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, with a plaque on the Oracle Park Wall of Fame outside the ballpark. Murphy is the 56th person enshrined but only the third who was not a player or manager, joining owners Bob Lurie and the late Peter Magowan.
Murphy joined the Giants as a 16-year-old batboy in 1958, the year they moved west from New York, and will retire after the 2023 season. Barry Bonds, Buster Posey and 1989 NL MVP Kevin Mitchell were among some 40 former players who participated in a pregame ceremony.
Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies could return from a left-hamstring strain as soon as Monday night’s series opener in Colorado. Albies has been on the injured list since Aug. 15, retroactive to Aug. 14.
Giants: OF Mike Yastrzemski and OF Mitch Haniger could return from the injured list early this week. Yastrzemski has been on the IL three times this season with a left-hamstring strain. Haniger, the Giants’ big offseason hitting acquisition, has not played since his right forearm was fractured by a pitch from Jack Flaherty in St. Louis on June 13.