By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — R.A. Dickey couldn’t command his knuckleball in the wind at San Francisco last month, but the Atlanta pitcher had no such problem this time against the Giants and his teammates gave him plenty of offensive support.
Dickey allowed just three hits in seven innings, and Matt Adams continued his hot hitting with another homer as the Braves rolled to a 9-0 victory on Monday night, handing the Giants their seventh straight loss.
“Dickey got in a groove with that knuckleball and it was moving in to the lefties and away from the righties,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Then he threw some breaking the other way. We just couldn’t get the barrel on the ball.”
“I thought this was the most consistent (knuckleball) I’ve seen,” Braves catcher Tyler Flowers said. “There weren’t any coming in there straight.”
Adams’ fourth-inning homer was his 10th home run since joining the Braves in a trade with St. Louis on May 21, and his RBI single in the seven-run eighth against the Giants bullpen gave the first baseman 27 RBIs in 28 games with Atlanta.
Dickey (5-5) retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced in recovering from a 7-1 loss to the Giants on May 28. He struck out six, walked one and hit a batter.
Johnny Cueto won the matchup with Dickey in San Francisco and pitched almost as well this time before the Giants’ bullpen imploded in the eighth.
“I would say it’s one of the best, if not the best,” Cueto said through a translator when comparing his starts this season. “But sad that we lost the way we lost.”
Danny Santana had a three-run homer as a pinch hitter and the Braves sent 12 players to the plate against three Giants relievers.
Santana’s homer, the Braves’ first from a pinch hitter this season, was even longer than Adams’ earlier blast. The ball traveled well over 400 feet, landing on the top of the Chop House in right field.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised that it happened,” Santana said through a translator of the distance his first pinch homer traveled.
Dansby Swanson and Johan Camargo had two-run singles as eight straight Braves batters reached base after two outs.
Cueto (5-7) allowed five hits and the two runs in seven innings. He struck out four, walked none and hit a batter.
“He really threw the ball well. He deserved better,” Bochy said.
The Braves (32-37) broke through against Cueto in the third inning when Camargo, who had singled, came around to score on Ender Inciarte’s double as catcher Buster Posey couldn’t handle the one-hop relay.
Adams made it 2-0 in the fourth when he went down and got an off-speed pitch, lofting a homer into the Chop House seats in right field.
The Giants had runners on the corners with no outs in the first inning after a double by Denard Span and an infield single by Eduardo Nunez, but Dickey retired the next three batters harmlessly.
The Giants (26-46) have lost nine of 10 and 16 of 20.
“We couldn’t have started the game any better,” Bochy said of his first two hitters reaching and the meat of the order coming up. “But we couldn’t get a run in and it all went downhill from there.”
NOTES: RHP Hunter Strickland began serving his six-game suspension after his appeal to have the penalty reduced was denied. The reliever drew the ban for inciting a May 29 brawl in San Francisco by hitting the Nationals’ Bryce Harper with a pitch. … The Giants have to play with a 24-man roster while Strickland is suspended. … The series opener was delayed 44 minutes because of rain. … RHP Julio Teheran (6-4, 4.86 ERA) will start for the Braves on Tuesday against Giants LHP Matt Moore (2-7, 6.00 ERA). … The Giants took two of three against the Braves in San Francisco during late May.