Trailing, 3-2, the Giants pulled even as Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy doubled to open the eighth. The Braves intentionally walked Buster Posey, who owned a .431 batting average in an 18-game stretch. Up came Pence, who lined David Aardsma’s 1-2 fastball over the left-center-field barrier.
“With Hunter up there, I always have a good feeling,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s why he’s hitting there [behind Posey].”
Atlanta starter Shelby Miller again pitched effectively but to no avail as his winless streak reached 14 games. The right-hander surrendered two runs and four hits in seven innings.
Giants starter Jake Peavy struck out a season-high eight in six innings, which helped him limit Atlanta to one run. Peavy fanned four consecutive Braves during one stretch, which included striking out the side in the fourth inning. He has compiled a 2.00 ERA in his last four outings against Atlanta and, more importantly, a 2.63 ERA in six starts since returning from the disabled list.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning, Miller appeared to get the ground ball he needed to get out of a tight spot. But when Pence hit a sharp ball to Chris Johnson at first base, Johnson — who lost track of the number of outs — jogged to the bag for the forceout instead of trying for a double play or a throw to the plate. Blanco scored from third on the play and gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.
Unlike Monday, when they squandered a 6-0 lead partly due to wasted scoring opportunities, the Giants maintained their surge after the big eighth inning. They scored twice in the ninth as Nori Aoki homered and Posey bounced a run-scoring single through the left side. Posey’s on pace to drive in 113 runs, which would eclipse his career high of 103 in 2012.
Miller continued his excellent 2015 campaign and settled in against the Giants after allowing a run in the first inning. After the first, Miller held San Francisco to two hits and one run over his final six innings, which included retiring 13 straight batters from the first inning into the fifth. Miller has now held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 17 of his 22 starts this season.
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco’s starter in Wednesday’s 6:10 p.m. CT series finale, has worked at least seven innings in seven of his last 10 starts. But he has allowed six homers in his last six outings after yielding 10 long balls in his first 15 starts. Atlanta counters with Williams Perez, who is coming off his worst outing of the season — nine hits and nine earned runs to the Phillies in 4 1/3 innings — after recovering from an ankle injury that required a three-start rehab stint in Triple-A Gwinnett. Perez will try to get back to the form that saw him post a 2.29 ERA through eight starts and one emergency relief appearance. Thunder Radio will bring you the broadcast beginning at 6:00 PM