Cueto bounces back as Giants top Braves 7-1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The blisters on Johnny Cueto’s middle and index fingers that limited his effectiveness in his last few starts haven’t yet completely healed.
But the two-time All-Star is learning to pitch with them.
Cueto threw six strong innings and Brandon Crawford drove in three runs as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Sunday.
Cueto (5-4) bounced back from his roughest stretch as a Giant. He was 0-3 with a 4.33 ERA in his previous four starts.
“They’re not bothering me like they were before,” Cueto said through a translator. “I’m just getting used to it but I have to continue pitching until they get better.”
The Giants won their third straight home series and posted their 11th victory in 18 games overall.
Crawford’s two-run single highlighted a four-run second against R.A. Dickey (3-4) that made it 6-0.
Matt Kemp had three hits for Atlanta. But the Braves couldn’t get much going against Cueto, who allowed one run on six hits and a walk. Cueto struck out eight, including five in a row at one point.
“He did what he needed to do to get us out,” Kemp said. “We had chances to score runs and we didn’t. I think in this series we really didn’t do a good score of scoring runs.”
Dickey allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on six hits and five walks in six innings.
“This can be a challenging place to throw because of the wind because it swirls so much,” Dickey said.
Eduardo Nunez and Gorkys Hernandez each had two hits for the Giants. Joe Panik tripled to start the second-inning burst.
Cueto had two productive at-bats, bunting a runner to second in the second inning and driving in a run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
“It’s always nice to have a lead and I thought Johnny was the sharpest he’d been this year,” Giants catcher Buster Posey said. “Hopefully it’s something he can build on. The changeup was working really well and his command of the fastball was really good.”
Posey was 0 for 2 with two walks. He hasn’t struck out in 55 consecutive plate appearances.
The Giants scored the game’s first run when Nunez came around from third when a knuckleball glanced off catcher Kurt Suzuki glove in the bottom of the first. The play was ruled a passed ball. Asked if he had any empathy for the plight of his counterpart, Posey said “Yes, no question. It’s not fun to hit, it doesn’t look fun to catch, either.”
Hernandez made a diving catch in the gap in left-center robbing Emilio Bonifacio of an extra-base hit with one out in the seventh inning.
Braves: 2B Brandon Phillips left in the fifth for pinch-hitter Jace Peterson. Phillips fouled a ball off his foot in his last at-bat in the third.
Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner will start his throwing program on Friday, manager Bruce Bochy said. Bumgarner will start out playing catch and make five rehab starts. The 2014 World Series MVP suffered a separated left shoulder in a dirt biking accident. “The progress is happening,” Bochy said. “I think he sees light at the end of the tunnel.” ... Slumping rookie INF Christian Arroyo was out of the lineup on Sunday and his playing status appears uncertain. Arroyo, who turns 22 on Tuesday, is 0 for 19 in his last five games. “I’ll talk to him, about what his situation is,” Bochy said. “I’m definitely planning on giving him a couple of days” off.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran will make his first career start against the Angels in Anaheim on Monday. He is 3-9 with a 5.63 ERA in 15 career interleague starts.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore will face the Nationals for the second time in his career. He was with Tampa Bay when he gave up two runs in five innings against Washington in 2012.