Benito Santiago is not one to wilt in the heat.
The San Francisco Giants’ 38-year-old catcher had the key hit in Friday’s 9-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. He’ll look to stay hot as the teams meet in the middle game of their weekend series at Turner Field.
With the Giants holding a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning on Friday, Santiago hit a three-run homer to break the game open. He went 2-for-3, raising his average to .304.
“I love the hot weather. I grew up in it. I wish we had 15 more games here,” said Santiago, who was born in Puerto Rico.
Santiago and Jose Cruz Jr. each hit three-run homers and drove in four runs apiece to help San Francisco win its sixth straight. The Giants are 4-0 on their six-game road trip, which began with a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins.
“Right now I’m going good,” said Santiago, who hit a go-ahead homer on Tuesday night, added two RBIs in a win Wednesday and was given the day off Thursday.
Before Friday, the Braves had won four straight and 10 of 11.
Center fielder Andruw Jones saw his record-breaking streak of at least one RBI in a franchise-record nine consecutive games come to an end with an 0-for-3 effort on Friday.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Braves - 1st place, NL East.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Kirk Rueter (3-1, 3.07 ERA). Rueter is coming in off one of his best starts of the season, allowing one run and four hits over six innings in the Giants’ 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Rueter has struggled in 16 career games against the Braves, going 3-7 with a 5.65 ERA.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Horacio Ramirez (2-2, 3.96 ERA). The rookie left-hander, who will be making just the seventh start of his career, had one of his best outings in his last start. Although he did not get the decision in the Braves’ 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 2, he allowed just one run and seven hits over six innings. He has never faced the Giants.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - LF Bonds has eight career homers against RHP John Smoltz, tied with RHP Greg Maddux and LHP Terry Mulholland for his most against any pitcher. … The Giants placed OF Marvin Benard on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to May 5, with an inflamed right knee. … After 34 games, the Giants lead the majors with the fewest errors (13). They have 20 errorless games, including six straight. Braves - RF Sheffield is batting .405 (17-for-42) with three homers in his career against LHP Rueter. … The Braves are 13-4 at Turner Field since losing a three-game series to Montreal to open the season. … 3B Vinny Castilla is 1-for-14 over his last four games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 15-4 on the road; Braves - 13-7 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - OF Benard (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Jason Christiansen (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Jensen (back, triceps), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL. Braves - RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Darren Holmes (arm), 15-day DL.