SAN FRANCISCO -- For once, the “MVP! MVP” chants at AT&T Park weren’t aimed at Buster Posey. The catcher did, however, remind the sellout crowd that he can still do the heavy lifting.
On a night when Stephen Curry and his family watched from the front row, Posey hit a two-run blast in the first inning and later added an RBI double in a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. The win, coupled with a Dodgers loss in St. Louis, moved the Giants into sole possession of first place in the National League West. They were 5 1/2 games back as late as May 15.
The Giants entered with a streak of 37 consecutive scoreless innings at home and they tied their franchise record (set by the 1948 New York Giants) when Tim Hudson got through the first two innings.
The Braves got on the board in the third, but just barely. Andrelton Simmons was on third with two outs when Cameron Maybin shot a bouncer up the middle that hit off Hudson’s glove. Brandon Crawford scooped it up with his barehand and made an off-balance throw to first, but Brandon Belt couldn’t complete the scoop. The infield hit finally got an opponent on the board here at AT&T Park.
Posey hit a 95 mph fastball from Mike Foltynewicz out to left in the first, but the hard-throwing rookie was dominant from then on. He touched 99 mph a few times while pitching into the seventh, and only was pulled because A.J. Pierzynski couldn't handle a pair of strikeout pitches that got to the backstop in the seventh and loaded the bases.
The Giants wouldn’t bring an insurance run across during that inning, but Posey added one in the eighth with a double that scored Joe Panik. Crawford's single gave the Giants a three-run lead that was cut into when Freddie Freeman took Santiago Casilla deep in the ninth.
Starting pitching report: Hudson was sharp in his first start against the Braves since he signed with the Giants. He gave up just five hits and one run in seven innings and needed just 83 pitches to get that far. Hudson has allowed just one run over 13 1/3 innings in his last two home starts.
Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland is rapidly moving up the depth chart. The right-hander has been back in the Majors for a week and he’s already pitching the eighth inning in a one-run game. Strickland got a fly to center, a strikeout and pop-up to left in a clean inning.
At the plate: Posey’s homer was his team-high eighth of the season. He has a hit in 26 of his last 29 games.
In the field: With two-time Gold Glove winner Andrelton Simmons standing on the top step of the dugout, Crawford went deep into left field to make a running catch and rob A.J. Pierzynski of a bloop single.
Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,311 fans who gave Curry a standing ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard. Curry was joined by his wife and parents (sadly, no Riley) and sat in Larry Baer’s seats next to the Giants dugout.
Up next: Tim Lincecum has been the starter for three of eight home shutouts this month and he gets one more May night at AT&T Park. Lincecum (5-2, 2.56 ERA) faces Williams Perez (0-0, 4.05) in a rare 7:05 p.m. Saturday game.