SAN FRANCISCO — Sean Manaea didn’t walk off the mound with a lead, but got a standing ovation from the home crowd. They’d seen how the left-handed featured pitcher managed to tame a Braves team that destroys left-handed pitchers. It wasn’t Manaea’s fault his outing wasn’t enough.
The Braves barrel up the ball better than most in the league, so it’s worth celebrating Manaea holding them to just two hard hits and five strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. But the little wins haven’t been enough for the Giants lately, and certainly wasn’t enough in the Giants’ 7-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday afternoon. The Giants have lost 14 of their last 19 games.
Manaea had some of his best stuff despite not throwing his changeup, getting plenty of weak contact and 13 swing-and-misses between his fastball and slider. But the Braves don’t need gifts to get a win; Austin Riley’s solo blast off Manaea untied a tied game in the fifth inning and proved to be the game winner. Manaea’s outing was all Giants could ask for against a team with a .884 OPS against left-handed pitchers.
San Francisco’s offense is the Wilmer Flores Show until further notice. His two-run home run off lefty Max Fried tied the game up at 2-2 in the third inning and gave just a glimmer of hope. Flores’ 19th home run of the year matches a career high set last year. J.D. Davis collected two hits and the young Giants Casey Schmitt, Luis Matos and Patrick Bailey — thrown into the lineup to make it as right-handed as possible against Fried — found some mojo with a hit each, too.
But the Giants went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and left six on base. Fried went six innings and struck out eight.
Opener Ryan Walker gave up a Matt Olson two-out RBI double in the first inning in his 11th start of the year. The Giants have now lost their last four games in which he’s opened. The Braves put up four more runs on the Giants’ bullpen tag team of Luke Jackson, Taylor Rogers and Jakob Junis after Manaea’s departure.
Wade Meckler entered the game after Fried’s departure and had a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning.