The Atlanta Braves try to hold onto their lead in the NL East when they face the San Francisco Giants in the second of a three-game series between division leaders on Saturday night. The first pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. ET at Oracle Park.
The Braves lost the series opener on Friday night, falling to 76-69. Atlanta is in first place in the NL East, with the second-place Philadelphia Phillies sitting two games back and the third-place New York Mets sitting 5½ games behind.
San Francisco snapped a two-game losing streak, improving to an MLB-best 96-52. The Giants are on top of the NL West standings, leading the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers by two games.
Needing Some Wins
The Braves have been atop the NL East but the Phillies are suddenly charging, having won three straight after dropping six of seven. Atlanta can’t get too comfortable, as Philadelphia will face the Braves for three games in the final week of the regular season.
Veteran right-hander Charlie Morton will get the start. The 37-year-old Morton is 13-5 with a 3.49 ERA with this being his first appearance against San Francisco.
Morton is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts in September. He took a no-decision against Miami on Sept. 11, going seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits, including a home run, in a 6-4 Marlins victory.
The Braves have to try to bounce back from losing Friday night despite leading by a run with two outs in the ninth after rallying for three runs in the top of the frame. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud’s three-run homer in the ninth put Atlanta in front, but Donovan Solano’s solo home run tied the game and sent it to extra innings.
The never-say-die Giants continued to come up with big wins in the late innings, using Solano’s home run and a full-count, bases-loaded sacrifice fly by pitcher Kevin Gausman in the 11th inning to double their lead in the NL West. It was Gausman’s fourth RBI, as he’s batting .184 in 49 at-bats.
“Oh man, that was the coolest thing I’ve ever done in my entire career,” Gausman said after Friday’s win. “When it was 3-2, and everybody stood up, it was probably one of the coolest moments of my life. … Just crazy.”
Left-hander Alex Wood will get the start. Wood is 10-4 with a 4.08 ERA in 23 starts this season, with seven of those wins coming at home.
Wood is making his first start since Aug. 26 due to a positive COVID-19 test. He may have some workload limitations after a long absence from the rotation, though he did throw a simulated game on Wednesday.
First baseman Brandon Belt had a home run in Friday’s win, his sixth this month and fifth in the last seven games. Belt is batting .328 with four doubles and 13 RBIs this month.
Giants Win Again
San Francisco has been picking up close wins all season long, and they want to get all the victories they can to hold off the Dodgers. Wood should keep Atlanta in check while he’s in the game, and the Giants’ bullpen finishes the job for San Francisco’s second straight win.
When doing your MLB betting, take the Giants to win at home.