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Braves 6, Giants 3

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Brian McCann drove in three runs with three hits, including his first home run of the season, and the Atlanta Braves overcame two early deficits to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

McCann, who made his season debut earlier in the week following offseason shoulder surgery, gave the Braves a 2-1 lead with his second-inning, two-run homer off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (1-3), then contributed an RBI single in a four-run fifth that put the visitors on top for good.

Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman and B.J. Upton also drove in runs in the game-changing fifth inning, helping the Braves win for the third time in the first four outings of their 10-game road trip.

Atlanta won for the sixth consecutive time with Julio Teheran on the mound.

With Buster Posey driving in all three Giants runs with a first-inning single and third-inning home run, there were three lead changes in the early-season duel of division leaders before Teheran (2-0) settled down and retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.

The right-hander allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings, but he didn't walk anyone for the second time in his past three starts.

Eric O'Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth before closer Craig Kimbrel recorded his 100th career save -- becoming the second-youngest to do so at age 24 -- with a one-hit ninth.

After sweeping three from the Los Angeles Dodgers to open their 10-game homestand, the Giants have lost three of four to National League East clubs, continuing an early trend in which they've won 15 of 21 within their West division but lost nine of 14 outside it. The Philadelphia Phillies took two of three at AT&T Park this week.

Like Posey, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt both had two hits for the Giants.

Posey opened the scoring in the bottom of the first after Marco Scutaro had doubled, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Even though first base was open with two outs, Teheran elected to challenge Posey with a curveball and the reigning National League Most Valuable Player promptly grounded it into left field for an RBI single and a 1-0 lead.

The advantage lasted all of three batters. After a walk to Dan Uggla one out into the top of the second and a first-pitch ball to McCann, Vogelsong came in with a fastball and the Braves catcher belted it over the right-field wall for his first home in three games since opening the season on the disabled list.

The Giants, who have done most of their best work when behind this season, flipped the one-run margin back in their favor in the third when Posey's rocket well over the 382-foot marker in left-center field scored Pablo Sandoval ahead of him. It was Posey's fifth homer of the season.

Alas, the seesaw affair swung back in the Braves' favor when Jordan Schafer and Justin Upton both tripled and scored in the four-run fifth. Simmons' infield out scored Schafer with the tying run, and Freeman's one-out single to right scored Upton to give the Braves a 4-3 lead.

Vogelsong then walked the next batter, Uggla, and was pulled in favor of left-hander Jose Mijares with McCann at the plate. It marked the second consecutive game that Vogelsong failed to get out of the fifth inning, this time despite striking out seven. He surrendered six runs, seven hits and three walks.

Both baserunners inherited by Mijares came around to score in what quickly turned in a big inning. McCann caught a break when Scutaro, the Giants' second baseman, couldn't handle his soft liner behind the bag for an RBI single that allowed Freeman to score. B.J. Upton followed with a hard shot up the middle to bring in Uggla for a 6-3 lead.

NOTES: The game matched the National League team leader in home runs (Atlanta) against the pitching staff that has given up the fifth-most homers in the league (San Francisco). ... Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will not be with the team on Friday and Saturday while he attends the college graduation of his daughter Gabrielle in Georgia. Carlos Tosca will run the show in Gonzalez's absence. ... Friday's starting pitcher for the Braves, Tim Hudson, is scheduled to take the hill for the first time since being named National League Player of the Week after picking up his 200th and 201st career wins last week. ... Giants RHP Santiago Casilla, who had to leave Wednesday's game because of a right knee injury, had an MRI on Thursday and it revealed something the team already knew about -- a cyst. He will be given at least a couple of days off in hopes the pain subsides.
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