By GIDEON RUBIN, Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Atlanta Braves are threatening to turn a tight NL East race into a blowout finish.
Sean Newcomb pitched six strong innings, Ozzie Albies sparked the offense with two extra-base hits and Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Monday night.
The Braves moved five games ahead of Philadelphia atop the NL East and reduced their magic number to 15 with their fourth win in five games.
The Giants lost their ninth straight, matching their worst skid since 2006.
Albies was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs. Kurt Suzuki was 3 for 3, including a double leading off a two-run ninth inning.
Albies scored the go-ahead run in the seventh. He led off with a double against starter Dereck Rodriguez (6-3) and was awarded third when center fielder Gorkys Hernandez’s throw trying to catch Albies after a wide turn at first was off the mark. Hernandez was charged with an error.
“Always aggressive,” Albies said. “He throws behind me, I’m going.”
Albies scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.
Albies had an RBI triple and scored a run in the ninth.
“He’s an aggressive kid,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s always looking to advance to the next base, that’s for sure.”
Newcomb (12-8) allowed a run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked none.
“I was just attacking the hitters the whole time, trying to make them uncomfortable,” Newcomb said.
Braves closer A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save.
Rodriguez gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings.
“I asked him to go back out for the seventh. I felt good regardless of pitches,” Rodriguez said. “I thought I could pitch a pretty good inning. I feel strong. I want to keep going out there.
“I like playing with old school managers. It’s the game I learned, bunting guys over to second, and grew up watching. Having Bochy as a manger and him having confidence in me is awesome.”
The 26-year-old rookie joined some elite company.
Rodriguez became one of just two pitchers to allow two or fewer runs over six-plus innings 13 times in their first 16 career starts. The other is former Montreal Expos pitcher Steve Rogers, per to Stats, LLC.
The only other Giant to allow two or fewer runs in 13 of their first 16 starts in a season is Juan Marichal (1965).
Braves OF Ronald Acuna Jr. was among the first eight players named to represent Major League Baseball in the 2018 All-Star Tour with Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, which opens Nov. 7 at the Tokyo Dome. … Acuna’s 25th home run on Sunday moved him into a three-way tie fifth place on the career list for players under 21 with Hall of Famers Eddie Matthews (1952) and Orlando Cepeda (1958).
Braves: RHP Arodys Vizcaino (right shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday for the first time in five days. He’s expected to be activated by Friday, manager Brian Snitker said. … RHP Brandon McCarthy (right knee tendinitis) threw a simulated game over the weekend but is not expected to pitch again this season. … RHP Jose Ramirez (right shoulder inflammation) has been shut down for the rest of the season. … IF Rio Ruiz was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Giants: INF Ryder Jones (dislocated patella on left knee) will have surgery later this week. The 25-year-old was injured taking a swing during Sunday’s game in Milwaukee.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-9, 2.75 ERA) is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts against the Giants.
Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (6-10, 4.33) is tied for 11th in franchise history for a rookie with 118 strikeouts. He ranks seventh in that category in the San Francisco era.