Braves top Giants on Freemans 11th-inning blast

Struggling Braves gave the home fans something to cheer about in thrilling win.

Brett Davis—X02835
Freddie Freeman hit a home run in the 11th to beat the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA — It didn’t matter that Freddie Freeman had already struck out three times, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker had a good feeling when his first baseman walked to the plate to lead off the 11th inning.Freeman hit the first pitch he saw from Derek Law in the 11th inning deep into the right field seats to give the Atlanta Braves a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday at Turner Field.”I’ve been there and shook his hand a few times before when he’s done that,” said Snitker, who managed Freeman in the minor leagues. “That’s kind of where he shines. He didn’t have a very good night, but he came up big at the right time.”The home run, Freeman’s ninth of the season, helped the Braves come back to win from a 4-1 deficit.”I was just trying to get a strike,” Freeman said. “I’d been swinging at balls all game and he hung a curve ball.”Atlanta improved to 3-7 in extra-inning games, while San Francisco dropped to 4-3.Chris Withrow (1-0) got the win after striking out two in a scoreless top of the 11th. Law (1-1) gave up just the one hit in his one-plus inning.The Braves sent the game to extra innings by scoring a run against San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla in the ninth. Adonis Garcia was hit by a pitch, went to third on a single by Nick Markakis and scored on a wild pitch.”That was an ugly run we gave up,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s a tough way to give up the lead.”San Francisco rookie Albert Suarez pitched five innings and allowed three runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in his first major league start. The right-hander retired the first nine batters he faced and didn’t run into real trouble until the sixth.Suarez even helped his own cause with his first career hit and RBI in the sixth inning, which gave the Giants a commanding 4-1 lead.”I thought he did a nice job,” Bochy said. “The kid did a good job.”San Francisco got scoreless relief appearances from George Kontos, Javier Lopez, Hunter Strickland, Josh Osich and Cory Gearrin.Gearrin, a former Brave, struck out pinch hitter Daniel Castro to strand two inherited runners and end the eighth inning.Atlanta starter Williams Perez allowed four runs, three earned, in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed five hits and two walks while striking out two.”Williams did a good job,” Snitker said “He was aggressive and was doing the same thing he’s been doing.”Perez was replaced after allowing a single to Jarrett Parker in the sixth inning, only to have reliever Ian Krol give up a walk and two hits, the last one an infield single by Suarez that drove in a run.The Braves trimmed the lead to 4-3 with two runs in the sixth. Pinch hitter Chase d’Arnaud doubled off the wall, and Mallex Smith tripled and later scored when Gordon Beckham grounded into a double play.Beckham hurt his left hamstring while running to first base and had to leave the game.The Giants opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Brandon Belt hit his sixth homer, a two-run shot that landed well into the right field stands. It was his second home run of the series.After Belt’s home run, San Francisco lost Hunter Pence to a pulled right hamstring.Pence grounded to third base, but stopped midway to first base, grabbing his right leg. Pence was helped off the field by the trainer and replaced in the field by Parker. Pence will likely be placed on the disabled list, Bochy said.The Braves didn’t get their first hit against Suarez until the fourth inning. Ender Inciarte tripled to right-center, the ball bouncing out of the glove of center fielder Denard Span when he tried for a diving catch. Inciarte scored on Beckham’s infield grounder.The Giants got the run back and took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on an unearned run. Gregor Blanco reached on a bunt single, was safe at second when second baseman Kelly Johnson botched a relay, took third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Joe Panik’s sacrifice fly.”We just couldn’t put it away,” Bochy said. “We had our chances.”NOTES: Giants manager Bruce Bochy gave SS Brandon Crawford the night off and plugged Kelby Tomlinson into the lineup. It was Tomlinson’s fourth start at shortstop. He started at second base on Sunday against Colorado and scored two runs. Tomlinson has played second, third, short and the outfield. Crawford entered as a sub and struck out in his only at-bat. … In the first 18 innings of the series, Atlanta batters were retired in order 11 times. … Thursday’s game will mark the last appearance for the Giants at Turner Field. San Francisco will start LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-2, 2.12 ERA) against Atlanta RHP Aaron Blair (0-3, 6.67).