Atlanta Braves: Revenge for 2010 NLDS Loss Is Sweet

Abigail MiskowiecContributor IApril 24, 2011

Jason Heyward unloaded for a three-run blast in Sunday's win over the Giants.
Jason Heyward unloaded for a three-run blast in Sunday's win over the Giants.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves completed a sweep of the defending champion San Francisco Giants today behind a solid outing from rookie Brandon Beachy. Craig Kimbel closed out the three-game series in which Braves starters have only allowed five runs.

The sweep was particularly sweet for the Braves who fell to the Giants in the 2010 NLDS. In that series, every game came down to one run. But the Braves eventually shot themselves in the foot, committing seven errors.

In the first meeting between the two teams in 2011, the Braves made sure not to suffer through a repeat performance. Through solid fundamental baseball, the Braves overcame one of the best pitching staffs in the National League.


Game 1

Tommy Hanson settled in after a rough start to the season in which he gave up three runs in three different starts. Against the potential Giants offense, he allowed a mere three hits in seven innings and the bullpen took care of their end of the deal with Craig Kimbrel netting his fifth save of the year.

Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner continued to struggle, allowing four runs in 2.2 innings and dropping to 0-3 on the season. Bumgarner’s longest outing to date has been a 6.2 inning affair against the Diamondbacks. He allowed four runs and earned a no decision. Talk about a sophomore slump.

Thankfully, the Braves' bats started to show signs of life. Chipper Jones notched a two-run double, and rookie Freddie Freeman hit a pair of singles to continue his hot streak.


Game 2

In the battle of the Tims, Hudson proved that experience is key, and the Braves tagged Lincecum for five runs in 6.1 innings.

All of the Braves starters banged out at least one hit except for the still-struggling Dan Uggla. It’s starting to seem like the only thing the man can do is hit home runs.

On the bright side, Martin Prado made up for an error and being caught stealing in the game with a two-hit, three RBI day. The error may even have been excusable as he was playing out of position, giving the veteran Chipper Jones a day off.

Pat Burrell was the only Giant able to make any noise in Hudson’s 8.2 innings, hitting two doubles and scoring the Giants only two runs.

In the end, Kimbrel got pinch hitter Buster Posey to fly out for the final out of the game, picking up his sixth save of the season.


Game 3

Rookie Brandon Beachy matched up well against Jonathan Sanchez in the final game of the series. The two starters traded solid innings, allowing only two runs each. Beachy seems to be a bit streaky and has allowed over five runs in two appearances this year.

Chipper Jones returned to the lineup and smashed a two-RBI double despite being hobbled by a sore knee.

Reliever Jairo Asencio, however, completely imploded in his third appearance of the season, allowing four runs on four hits to give the Giants the lead after Jason Heyward’s three-run blast in the seventh.

Dan Uggla got his first hit of the series, a home run to tie the game (big surprise there). He is tied with Heyward for the squad lead with five homers despite his abysmal average.

The Braves led off the top of the 10th inning with two singles and a walk and Nate McLouth came through in the clutch with a two-out, two-run single. Brian McCann, a notoriously clutch hitter, followed with run-scoring single of his own.

Jonny Venters closed out the game for the save, striking out two after coming back from biceps soreness. This was the Braves' first series sweep of the season and only their third series win.