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Atlanta Braves (47-81) at San Francisco Giants (69-58)
Friday, August 26 - 10:15 PM EST
AT&T Park, San Francisco, California
The San Francisco Giants have been sliding in the wrong direction but
they hope they have the right opponent in which to stage a turnaround
when they host the Atlanta Braves on Friday in the opener of a
three-game set. Atlanta owns the worst record in the majors while the
Giants are just two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National
League West despite losing eight of their last 11 games.
San Francisco halted a four-game skid Thursday with a 4-0 victory over the Dodgers as left-hander Matt Moore pitched 8 2/3 hitless innings before Los Angeles shortstop Corey Seager singled to break up his no-hit attempt. The Giants possess the first NL wild card but are a shaky 12-25 since the All-Star break after being 24 games above .500 through 90 games. The Braves have dropped 11 of their past 15 games but Thursday's 3-1 victory at Arizona gave them a four-game split of the series. Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman, who has eight homers and 20 RBIs in August, experienced back pain after a tumble over the railing in which he landed on some unoccupied seats during Thursday's game but said after the contest that he expects to be in the lineup against the Giants.
TV: 10:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), KNTV (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Joel De La Cruz (0-6, 4.47 ERA) vs. Giants RH Jeff Samardzija (10-9, 4.17)
De La Cruz is making his eighth big-league start as he once again chases that elusive first victory. He was roughed up for six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings in his last turn while receiving a no-decision against the Washington Nationals. De La Cruz is 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA and 1.55 WHIP in eight road appearances (three starts).
Samardzija has dropped four of his past five decisions but has allowed just five runs over his last three starts. He lost to the New York Mets in his last turn despite giving up just two runs and three hits in seven innings. Samardzija is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 11 career appearances (five starts) against the Braves.
1. Giants 2B Joe Panik hit a two-run homer in Thursday's victory, marking the first time he has gone deep since June 18.
2. Atlanta CF Ender Inciarte is 13-for-29 with one homer, six RBIs and eight runs scored during a six-game hitting streak.
3. San Francisco 1B Brandon Belt has struck out 32 times in 81 August at-bats and has failed to homer in 11 consecutive contests.
PREDICTION: Giants 7, Braves 3