Hanson handcuffs Giants; Braves win opener 4-1

April 23, 2011, 4:55 am
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Mychael UrbanCSNBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner's troubles at home continued Friday night as the visiting Braves beat up on the Giants' youngest starting pitcher on the way to a 4-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park.One of San Francisco's postseason heroes in 2010, Bumgarner last season went 6-3 with a 1.91 ERA in 10 games on the road and 1-3 with a 4.60 ERA in eight starts at home. He hasn't been very good anywhere early in 2011, as evidenced by the 0-2 record and 7.36 ERA he lugged into Orange Friday, but after allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks over 2 23 innings against Atlanta, his ERA at AT&T ballooned to 9.39; it's 6.52 away from China Basin.
URBAN: Lack of rotation depth protecting Bumgarner
Bumgarner and Giants manager Bruce Bochy have been steadfast in dismissing the disparate splits as a statistical anomaly, focusing instead on the quality of the 21-year-old southpaw's pitches instead of obsessing over the results. That trend continued in the wake of Friday's fiasco."I felt like I had some of the best stuff I've had since I've been here," Bumgarner said.Bochy concurred: "He had good stuff tonight. I'm not concerned about him. He'll come out of this."
VIDEO: Bruce Bochy postgameFairly quiet through the first two frames, the Braves made all of their offensive noise while running Bumgarner (0-3) out of the game in the third. A pair of walks set things up, and Atlanta cashed in with an RBI single from Jason Heyward, a two-run double from Chipper Jones and an RBI single from rookie Freddie Freeman."It's been one inning," Bochy said of Bumgarner's uneven outings thus far. "He couldn't limit the damage, he couldn't stop it all of a sudden there's a big number up there. If it's three runs, that's OK. But at four we had to get him out of there."
Several pitches that home plate umpire Derryl Cousins called balls in the third appeared to be borderline, and Bochy conceded that such calls might have hastened his starter's downward spiral."He's getting a little frustrated," said the skipper. "He's gotta control that part of it."Bumgarner, however, wouldn't bite when asked if he'd been squeezed.
VIDEO: Buster Posey postgame
"I haven't gone back and looked at the tape," he said, "but they're doing their job the best they can. I'm sure they made the right calls."He did admit to being flummoxed by by early season failures, though."I'm trying to stay upbeat, but it's tough," Bumgarner offered. "Nobody said it was going to be easy."Ryan Vogelsong, who made his big-league debut with the Giants in 2000 -- the year AT&T Park opened as Pac Bell Park -- and spent parts of the past three seasons in Japan, took over for Bumgarner and worked 3 12 shutout innings before Guillermo Mota, Dan Runzler and Sergio Romo came on for an inning each to buy the Giants time to mount a comeback. Braves starter Tommy Hanson wasn't having it, however, holding the hosts to a run on three hits and a walk over seven innings to improve to 2-3 on the season."He was tough tonight," Bochy said."Tommy was on it from the get-go," Jones said in the victorious clubhouse. "He was in command the whole time."Pablo Sandoval doubled and scored on a groundout by Pat Burrell in the bottom of the seventh to break up Hanson's shutout, but the Braves bullpen was perfect the rest of the way.