San Francisco Giants hitter Curt Casali swings for a two RBI single as Atlanta Braves catcher Travis d’Arnau looks on in the fourth inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco Sat Sep 18, 2021 (AP News photo)
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO-Alex Wood made his return to the starting rotation, but his return was a short one.
Wood, who was reinstated from the injured list prior to the game went only three innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits, walking no one, striking out four and hit by a batter and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 2-0 before a crowd of 32,058 at Oracle Park.
With the victory, the Giants maintained their two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who defeated the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 earlier on Saturday at Great American Ballpark.
On the other side of things, this was the fourth loss in a row for the Braves and their lead in the National League East now stands at one game over the Philadelphia Phillies, who have won four in a row.
The Giants finally got to Charlie Morton in the bottom of the fourth inning, Curt Casali hit a two-run single to right field that scored both LaMonte Wade, Jr., and Brandon Crawford with what proved to be the only runs of the game.
Wade, Jr., walked to lead off the inning, then Crawford singled to right field to send Wade, Jr., down to second base. The duo then advanced an additional 90 feet, when Mike Yastrzemski dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt that he nearly beat out and then Casali hit the two-run single.
Once again, the Giants bullpen was dazzling in relief of Wood, as the combination of Zach Littell, Jay Jackson, Jarlin Garcia, Jose Alvarez, Tyler Rogers and Dominic Leone combined to go the final five innings, allowing zero runs on five hits, walking three and striking out five.
Morton went the first five for the Braves, as he allowed two runs on four hits, three walks and struck out three.
It looked like the Braves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, as Jorge Soler it looked like he hit his 24th home run of the season; however, Steven Duggar robbed him of the home run, when he brought the ball back into play and it was called a double off of Littell, who then gave up a single to Freddie Freeman.
Littell was able to get out of the inning unscathed, as he struck out Austin Riley on a foul tip that was reviewed and confirmed after 67 seconds to be the third strike, then Littell struck out both Adam Duvall and Travis dArnaud to get out of the jam.
With the Giants scoring the two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, it gave the win to Littell and he raised his record to 4-0 on the season and Leone, who came on to close the game picked up his second save of the season.
NOTES: Wood was reinstated, as he started the game for the Giants, to make room for Wood, Sammy Long was optioned to Sacramento and Chadwick Tromp was designated for assignment.
The Giants home run streak came to a halt at 12 consecutive games (26 home runs overall) and this was the longest streak by the team since they hit home runs in 13 straight games from June 25-July 12 of 2019 and hit 25 home runs during the streak.
When Donovan Solano hit his pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night, it was the 16th pinch-hit home run of the season for the team and are one shy of the Major-League record set by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, when they hit 17.
The Giants record of 97-52 thru 149 games is the best by the team since they moved to California in 1958, passing both the 1962 and 1993 team that was 93-56 thru 149 games.
This was the 1,250th win by the Giants over the Braves all-time and have lost 1,097 times and tied 26 times.
UP NEXT: Anthony DeSclafani goes to the mound for the Giants, as they look for the sweep and DeSclafani goes for his 13th win of the season, while the Braves will send Max Fried to the hill, as he looks for his 12th win of the season.