SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants had an inkling that injured Madison Bumgarner’s replacement in the starting rotation could pitch effectively.
But nobody knew Ty Blach could hit a bit like the slugging ace as well.
Blach added a pair of singles, one that produced a two-out run in a three-run fourth inning, to a strong pitching performance, and teammates Nick Hundley and Brandon Belt smacked home runs Saturday night, delivering the Giants a 6-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Blach (3-2) won his third consecutive start, limiting the Braves to two runs and six hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked three and struck out five in his longest outing of the season as San Francisco snapped a four-game losing streak.
“Anytime you can go out there and give your team a chance to win, that’s what we’re here to do,” the second-year Giant noted. “The hitting is just a little extra bonus sometimes.”
Blach took a shutout and a 5-0 lead into the eighth before a one-out double by pinch hitter Rio Ruiz and singles by Ender Inciarte and Brandon Phillips got the Braves on the scoreboard.
A second run scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Nick Markakis, before right-hander Derek Law came on and served up a double by Matt Kemp. Law then got Matt Adams to ground out as the potential tying run.
In the end, Braves manager Brian Snitker observed, his club just fell too far behind.
“The biggest thing I can point to tonight is you get that pitcher out (in the fourth) and you’re in the game,” he said of what was a 3-0 game at the time. “That’s probably for me the biggest at-bat.”
After the Giants had increased their lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Danny Santana’s RBI triple off Law got Atlanta back within three in the top of the ninth.
Giants closer Mark Melancon came on to retire the only two batters he faced for his 10th save.
Hundley hit a two-run homer in the second inning and Belt a solo shot in the fourth, helping stake Blach to the five-run lead and ending the night early for Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz (3-5).
“I thought this would happen last night,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the series-opening 2-0 loss to the Braves. “I just think (Giants hitters) turned it up a notch.
“I thought we were more aggressive (at the plate). Just let it go. You can’t control the results, but you can control the swing, They got better swings tonight.”
Hundley, the San Francisco backup catcher, had three hits, including an eighth-inning RBI single off the fourth Braves pitcher, left-hander Ian Krol, that capped the Giants’ scoring.
Hundley scored twice and had three RBIs for the Giants, who had totaled only six runs during their losing streak.
Catcher Tyler Flowers had two singles for the Braves, who were outhit 9-8.
Foltynewicz, who had won his previous three starts, was lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth. He allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings, walked one and struck out four.
He’d allowed a total of five earned runs during his winning streak.
“That’s just kind of mental lapse out there,” Foltynewicz said of the RBI hit he allowed to Blach. “I kind of gave in … especially when it’s right down the middle. It’s going to get hit even if it’s a pitcher. That really was kind of the downfall of everything right there.”
NOTES: Giants LHP Ty Blach had not struck out a left-handed batter all season (a total of 38 hitters) before fanning Braves RF Nick Markakis in the first inning. … C Nick Hundley’s two-run homer was just the Giants’ eighth this season with a runner aboard. Their other 34 homers, including Saturday’s by 1B Brandon Belt, have been solo shots. … Belt’s home run was his 10th of the season, the first Giant to reach double figures. The Giants had begun the day as one of only five teams, along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals, with no 10-homer hitters. … Giants LF Eduardo Nunez went 0-for-3 with a walk, ending his career-high, 12-game hitting streak. … The Braves were facing a left-handed starting pitcher for only the fourth time this season, the fewest in the majors.