SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have spent parts of the last two road trips talking about ways they can duplicate some of their prolific road production during home games. On Thursday night they did, but they didn’t really have to.
Chris Heston was brilliant through 7 1/3 innings and Brandon Belt provided the needed offense with a solo shot in the seventh as the Giants beat red-hot righty Shelby Miller and the Braves 7-0 in a game that was tight until the eighth. The Giants scored six runs their final time up to the plate and got their eighth shutout in their last 12 home games.
Belt took a 96 mph fastball the opposite way in the sixth, scuttling a shutout bid by Miller, who needed just 86 pitches to get through his seven innings.
This one sailed into the late innings, as both Heston and Miller worked quickly and threw strikes. Miller needed just 53 pitches to get through the first five innings. Heston had allowed only two baserunners to that point and nearly gave himself a lead in the sixth.
Heston doubled to right and Nori Aoki followed with a single that was hit too hard to score Heston, but Joe Panik popped up and Hunter Pence grounded out to end the threat.
The Giants would finally get on the board an inning later when Belt blasted his sixth homer in 13 games. They broke through in a big way an inning later against the Braves bullpen, with Panik hitting a two-run double and Pence smoking a two-run triple. 11 Giants came to the plate in the eighth inning and they picked up seven hits, four of which went for extra bases.
Starting pitching report: Heston has a 5.79 ERA on the road and he allowed 11 runs over 7 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, but AT&T Park has been his happy place. He lowered his home ERA to 2.16.
Bullpen report: Jeremy Affeldt has struggled, but he was the first man out of the bullpen when Heston put a runner on in the eighth. Affeldt struck out Johnny Gomes before handing the ball to Sergio Romo. The strikeout was just the fifth of the season for Affeldt.
At the plate: With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Heston smoked a 95 mph fastball the other way and got a double when it hit the chalk a couple of feet shy of the right-field wall. It was the first extra-base hit for Heston, who showed a nice swing and a little pop during spring training appearances.
In the field: Cameron Maybin made a nice diving catch in center field. The Padres could use a guy like that.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,040. On a Thursday night against the blah Braves, many of them looked like green seats.
Up next: Tim Hudson will make his first start against the Braves since leaving Atlanta after the 2013 season. He went over to the visiting clubhouse early Thursday afternoon to chat with some of his former teammates. “It was nine really good years for me over there,” Hudson said. “It’s still really special for me.” Hudson won't actually be facing many of his former teammates since the Braves are rebuilding, but he likely will face Andrelton Simmons, Chris Johnson and Freddie Freeman, all of whom he played with. The Braves counter with hard-throwing rookie Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 4.25 ERA).