By The Sports Xchange
ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves outfielder Lane Adams had some incentive to show off a little Thursday night.
His mother and a couple of his nieces had driven all the way from their home in Oklahoma to watch him play for the first time.
The inspired rookie hit a long pinch-hit home run, one of the Atlanta Braves’ four long balls, and sparked an eight-run fifth inning that carried Atlanta to a 12-11 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday at SunTrust Park.
“They say hitting is contagious and I believe it,” Adams said. “When one guy gets going, the rest fall in line. It was a great inning.”
The Braves also counted homers from Nick Markakis, Matt Adams and Brandon Phillips. Markakis had four of the team’s 16 hits as Atlanta took three of four games in the series and won for the seventh time in the last 10 games.
Lane Adams connected against reliever Bryan Morris for a long three-run shot in the fifth, when the Braves opened the inning with six consecutive hits. It was the first major league homer for Adams, who was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason.
Atlanta starter Jaime Garcia lasted only 4 1/3 innings before being chased. He allowed six runs on seven hits, two of them homers, and three walks. Rookie Jason Hursh (1-0) got the final two outs of the inning and ended up getting credit for his first career victory.
The Giants made it interesting in the ninth inning against closer Jim Johnson. San Francisco scored twice and had runners on first and second when Hunter Pence grounded out to end the game. Johnson earned his 14th save.
“That was big. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish it off. We battled pretty hard this whole game. That’s baseball,” Pence said.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said, “We had them where we wanted them there in the ninth, we just couldn’t finish it off. There’s been quite a few of those where we come up just short like we did again tonight.”
San Francisco starter Matt Cain (3-7) was knocked out after failing to retire the three batters he faced in the fifth. The right-hander allowed seven runs on 10 hits, three of them homers, in four innings. He has lost six straight decisions. Morris, who followed Cain, got two outs in the fifth but was charged with five runs on five hits and one walk. The bleeding didn’t stop until Kyle Crick pitched 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut.
“Our guy (Cain) was having his struggles,” Bochy said. “The ball was flying out of here, which we saw, and Matty was a little bit off … left some pitches up. Morris was up, but he was just missing location. He was off. When you get back-to-back that are off, you’re probably going to give up some runs.”
San Francisco’s Buster Posey was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt also homered for the Giants.
The Braves jumped on top in the first inning when Markakis hit a two-run homer, his third home run of the season.
The Giants answered in the second and took a 3-2 lead. Posey led off with his 10th homer, which slid just inside the right-field foul pole. Cain drove home the two other runs with a two-out double, his first two RBIs of the season.
San Francisco went ahead 5-2 in the third on doubles from Posey and Austin Slater.
The Braves got a run back in the fourth. Ender Inciarte singled, went to second on an infield grounder and scored when Markakis singled to left.
Atlanta cut the deficit to 5-4 when Matt Adams connected for his 13th homer, but the Giants immediately got the run back in the fifth on Panik’s fifth homer of the season.
The Braves sent 13 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and scored eight runs. Phillips hit his fifth homer, a solo shot, to start the onslaught.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said, “You talk about a roller coaster of emotions. It’s baseball. It happens. Team’s aren’t going to lay down. They came back. We came back.”
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 26 minutes because of rain. It was the third rain delay in the four-game series. … Atlanta sent 3B Rio Ruiz to Triple-A Gwinnett and recalled INF Jace Peterson. Ruiz hit .175 with two home runs in 30 games. Peterson was batting .338 in 17 games with the G-Braves. … San Francisco LHP Madison Bumgarner threw 45 pitches in a two-inning simulated game Wednesday. He will make a three-inning appearance Sunday. … The Giants finished the road trip 1-7 and have lost nine of their last 10. … The teams combined for seven home runs, the most for a single game at SunTrust Park. Teams are on pace to hit 190 homers at the new park, a feat that occurred only once at Turner Field.