ATLANTA – It’s on humid but pleasant nights like these, when Madison Bumgarner brings a big load to the mound and Buster Posey displays his brilliance at the plate, that the Giants’ world appears so firmly on its axis.
It’s on nights like these when the Giants actually look like defending World Series champions -- when they can meet an opponent with the best home record in the majors and beat them into the red Georgia clay.
Bumgarner raised his glove to his eyes and had the Atlanta Braves swinging blindfolded, Posey flipped out three extra-base hits for the first time in his career and the Giants finally played up to their standards away from AT&T Park in a 6-0 victory at Turner Field Friday night.
Former Brave Gregor Blanco hit the first leadoff home run of his career and added an RBI single to stay sizzling in the No.1 spot while Angel Pagan continues to miss time with a strained hamstring. Posey doubled in the third, fifth and seventh as the Georgia native continues to torment the team he watched in his youth.
And Bumgarner, another old soul from the South, took a perfect game bid into the fifth inning and a no-hitter into the sixth while giving the Braves all they could handle for the second time this season.
The Giants have outhit the Pirates and Braves 28-6 and outscored them 16-0 while winning consecutive road games; one more victory and they would clinch a winning record on this nine-game, three-city trip against a trio of clubs that are better than .500.
It’s also the first time the Giants have recorded road shutouts on consecutive days since Sept. 5-6, 2010, when they blanked the Dodgers and Diamondbacks.
Starting pitching report
Bumgarner (6-4) didn’t get to the ballpark until his teammates had taken the field for pregame stretch. That’s because he took the last bus with the broadcasters, and it got snarled in an hour’s worth of traffic to drive the 11 miles from Buckhead to Turner Field.
Bumgarner sure didn’t look frazzled on the mound. He picked up the baton from Matt Cain’s solid outing a night earlier, retiring the first 14 batters before issuing a two-out walk to B.J. Upton in the fifth. Then No.8 hitter Chris Johnson broke up the no-hitter leading off the sixth when his blooper fell in between Blanco and Hunter Pence in shallow right-center field.
Bumgarner erased Johnson when he got a double-play grounder from Andrelton Simmons, then pitched around Freddie Freeman’s flared single in the seventh.
The Braves will rack up their share of strikeouts, and for the second time this season, Bumgarner took advantage by getting ahead and expanding the zone. He struck out 10 – one short of matching his season high of 11, when he faced the Braves May 11 at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner has struck out 21 of the 50 Braves batters he’s faced this season.
His line: Seven innings, two hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts and 108 pitches.
Sandy Rosario struck out two and allowed one hit over two shutout innings.
At the plate
You wouldn’t know the Giants are missing a third of their lineup. Too many others are swinging hot bats.
Blanco was 9 for 20 on the road trip after his first two at-bats – a leadoff home run and a two-out, RBI single in the second inning.
Posey and Hunter Pence hit consecutive doubles to give the Giants another run in the third.
Posey doubled again in the fifth, hitting a shot down the right field line. Brandon Crawford followed with another off-field double that scored Posey as the Giants led 4-0.
At that point, Posey was 12 for 30 on the trip – making it a lot easier to remain calm over the fact that he hasn’t drawn a walk in his last 14 games, the second longest streak of his career.
Posey always seems to hit the Braves. He’s hit safely in each of his last 12 games against them, with a .417 average (20 for 48), 15 RBIs and two home runs over that span.
The Giants played crisply behind Bumgarner to keep the no-hit bid alive until the sixth. Crawford ranged far to his right to glove pitcher Kris Medlen’s grounder, then threw off balance to record the out and end the third inning.
First baseman Brandon Belt had Justin Upton played perfectly off the line, putting him in position to make a lunging catch of a line drive to his right to end the fourth.
The Braves announced 45,833 paid. Jason Heyward entered the game hitting .215 and fell down while trying to make a catch. Posey, meanwhile, had three doubles. No wonder there were no chants of “Heyward’s better."
The Giants and Braves continue this three-game series at Turner Field on Saturday. Chad Gaudin (2-1, 2.32 ERA) takes the mound against left-hander Mike Minor (8-2, 2.44 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PDT.