SAN FRANCISCO — One of baseball’s best collections of young
hitters goes head-to-head with one of the National League’s best young starting
pitchers when the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants begin a three-game
series Monday night.The Braves flew into San Francisco on Sunday night on a
high Matt
Holliday Jersey
, having rallied for six runs in the top of the
ninth inning to beat Arizona 9-5 and take three of four in a battle of playoff
hopefuls.The win allowed Atlanta (79-64) to move 4 1/2 games ahead of
Philadelphia (74-68) in the National League East. Those two still have seven
head-to-head meetings remaining.Article continues below ...While the Braves
continue a seven-game trip with three in San Francisco, the Phillies will be
hosting the Washington Nationals for three games.Thanks in large part to
20-year-olds Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, the Braves will take the field
Monday as the second-ranked team in the NL in scoring and batting average.They
will be up against Giants 26-year-old Dereck Rodriguez (6-2, 2.41), who ranks
fifth in the NL among all pitchers with 15 or more starts in ERA (2.41) and tied
for sixth in winning percentage (6-2, .750).Like the Giants, who have lost eight
in a row ,
Rodriguez has had a tough time getting wins of late. He has one loss and two
no-decisions to show for his last three starts, during which he has given up
just six runs and 14 hits in 17 innings against Texas, Arizona and Colorado.San
Francisco’s losing streak is its longest since another eight-game skid in April
2015.Things were different in early May, when the Giants won three straight
games at Atlanta. Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Alen Hanson contributed
home runs to the 9-4, 11-2 and 4-3 victories.Rodriguez, a rookie Reggie
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, did not pitch in the series and has never faced
the Braves.Left-hander Sean Newcomb (11-8, 3.92) is scheduled to oppose
Rodriguez in the series opener. He also did not pitch in the games in
Atlanta.The 25-year-old has struggled of late, getting roughed up for 35 hits
and 21 runs in 23 2/3 innings in his last five starts. He’s 1-3 in those games
and the Braves are 2-3.Newcomb has faced the Giants just once in his career,
posting a no-decision in a 5-3 win last June in which he limited the Giants to
one run and three hits for six innings.He will be seeing a Giants team this time
around that suffered the unfortunate distinction of getting swept in Milwaukee
despite out-hitting the Brewers in all three games. That hadn’t happened to the
Giants since a 2009 series against San Diego.The Braves, meanwhile, have gone
4-0-2 in their last six road series.They managed to avoid splitting four at
Arizona by virtue of their six-run ninth, which featured a go-ahead home run by
Ender Inciarte and lead-padding homers by Lucas Duda and Johan Camargo.The home
run by the 24-year-old Camargo was his 18th of the season ,
and Acuna earlier hit his 25th.The homers were the 78th and 79th of the season
by Braves players 25-and-under. The Giants have 16. PHOENIX (AP) San Francisco
Giants infielder Pablo Sandoval will miss the remainder of the season after
tearing his right hamstring while sliding.Giants manager Bruce Bochy said
Thursday that the 2012 World Series MVP has a significant tear requiring
surgery. Sandoval was injured while sliding into home plate Sunday against San
Diego.The 31-year-old Sandoval was hitting .248 with nine homers and 40 RBIs. He
also played first and third base during his second stint with San
Francisco.Sandoval played his first seven seasons with the Giants, then became a
free agent and signed a $95 million, five-year contract with Boston after the
2014 season.He was released by the Red Sox in 2017 and signed with the Giants
three days later. San Francisco is paying the $545,000 minimum this year, which
is offset against the $18 million Sandoval is owed by Boston.—
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