Kimbrel logs 100th save as Braves dump Giants

Dave Del Grande, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez flew across the country Wednesday night to participate in one baseball game.
As it turns out, he saw a bit of history.
Gonzalez watched from the top step of the dugout as Braves closer Craig Kimbrel became the second-youngest major-leaguer to record 100 career saves, finishing off a 6-3 win Thursday night over the San Francisco Giants.
"I remember being here for in 2010 for the playoffs. It seems like yesterday," Kimbrel said after allowing one hit in a scoreless ninth inning while chalking up his memorable save. "It's nice to get this milestone. Hopefully I can get quite a few more."
While Kimbrel and his teammates were celebrating, Gonzalez was repacking his bags. About nine hours after the game ended, he was scheduled to get back on a plane headed about 3,000 miles in the other direction, en route to his daughter Gabrielle's college graduation at Georgia Southern.
"Got to go home and take care of some stuff. It'll be fun," he said of a scheduled two-game absence from the team. "I'll be back Sunday with pictures."
Joining Kimbrel in the winners' circle photo shoot Thursday night were batterymates Brian McCann and Julio Teheran.
McCann, the Atlanta catcher, drove in three runs with three hits, including a two-run homer, to back the seven-inning, seven-hit pitching of Teheran (2-0). The Braves came from behind twice against a team that has made a living early this season fashioning comebacks.
"I feel I have the support of the guys," said Teheran, who has pitched in a win in all six of his starts this season, even if only two have gone on his record. "I have confidence in them."
McCann, who made his season debut earlier in the week following offseason shoulder surgery, gave Teheran a 2-1 lead with his second-inning, two-run homer -- his first of the season -- off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (1-3). He 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.
"A healthy 'Mac' can swing the bat," Gonzalez said. "He makes our lineup a lot better."
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 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.
"He stayed on the corners pretty well," Posey said of Teheran, who recovered from a somewhat shaky start. "He wasn't leaving very many pitches over the plate."
Eric O'Flaherty pitched a scoreless eighth to set the stage for Kimbrel, who at 24 years and 346 days old became the youngest other than Francisco Rodriguez (24 years, 246 days) to join the 100-save club.
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 the West division but lost nine of 14 outside it. The Philadelphia Phillies took two of three at AT&T Park this week.
San Francisco's last lead, 3-2, came as a result of Posey's fifth homer in the third, a full-count shot well over the 382-foot marker in left-center field with Pablo Sandoval aboard.
"With two strikes, you're just trying to battle," Posey said. "Fortunately, he left a pitch up in the zone."
Like Posey, Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt both had two hits for the Giants.
NOTES: The game matched the NL team leader in home runs (Atlanta) against the pitching staff that has given up the fifth-most homers in the league (San Francisco). ... Four Giants pitchers combined to strike out 14 batters, triggering a bratwurst giveaway to the San Francisco fans. "We need to stop flying around the country feeding people," Gonzalez said with a chuckle. "In Cincinnati everybody is eating pizza. Here, everybody gets brats." ... Carlos Tosca will serve as the Braves' acting manager Friday and Saturday in Gonzalez's absence. ... Scutaro's two hits ran his hitting streak to nine games. ... Friday's starting pitcher for the Braves, RHP 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 exam 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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