Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 9, Braves 0

July 18, 2012, 2:12 am
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ATLANTA Buster Poseys hometown of Leesburg is three hours south of Atlanta on I-75 and a world away.He said it more than once during the NL Division Series in 2010: Atlanta is not his hometown, nothing like the place where he grew up.But maybe its not such a bad place to hit.Playing in only his second regular-season series at Turner Field, Posey exploded for a three-hit, five-RBI game while leading the Giants to a 9-0 red-velvet cakewalk over the Braves Tuesday night.The Giants achieved just their second shutout in the 16-year history of Turner Field. Both times, they got seven shutout innings from Barry Zito. The other shutout came in 2008.It was also the Giants largest shutout win in Atlanta since Sept. 29, 1976 the day John Montefusco threw his no-hitter in a 9-0 victory.Posey powered this one. He hit a two-strike, two-out RBI double in the first inning, a two-strike, two-out RBI single in the third and a two-strike, bases-clearing double in the fourth off reliever Luis Avilan. He lined out and struck out in his last two trips, leaving him one short of matching his career high of six RBIs, which he set July 7, 2010 at Milwaukee.Posey started at first base but moved behind the plate in the fourth inning after Hector Sanchez sprained his left knee on the basepaths. The severity of Sanchezs injury was not immediately known, but all sprains are ligament tears to some degree. If Sanchez must go on the disabled list, Eli Whiteside is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.The Giants, at 50-40, became the fifth major league club to reach the 50-win mark.Starting pitching reportThe Giants offense carried the day against right-hander Jair Jurrjens, but there was no understating the importance of Zitos highly effective start especially against a Braves lineup that had mashed for an average of 6.1 runs over a seven-game winning streak.Zito entered 3-0 with a 2.08 ERA in four career starts at Turner Field and improved on those numbers. He gave up just three hits two singles and a double in seven shutout innings and issued just one walk as the Giants shut out the Braves for the second time in the 16-year history of Turner Field.The other time? It was Aug. 18, 2008 when Zito threw seven shutout innings, and Keiichi Yabu and Sergio Romo followed with scoreless frames.Prior to that, the Giants hadnt posted a shutout in Atlanta since Sept. 30, 1992, when Jeff Brantley, Bill Swift and Rod Beck combined for a 1-0 win at old Fulton County Stadium.Zito (8-6) set the tone the rotation needed on this six-game road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia; the Giants entered the trip with a 4.85 road ERA that ranked as the third worst in the major leagues.Bullpen reportThe roles of Messrs. Yabu and Romo were played by George Kontos and Clay Hensley, Esq.At the platePosey had a big return to his home state, but two former Braves had productive nights as well. Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco were constantly on base in front of Posey.Blanco walked twice, scored two runs and hit an RBI single. Cabrera hit a hustle double and an RBI single for his major league-leading 41st multi-hit game of the season. He also leads the majors with 122 hits.In 2010 with the Braves, Cabrera had 117 hits all season, and just 27 multi-hit games.Its July 17, by the way.In fieldThe Braves made most of the highlight grabs. Left fielder Martin Prado made a running catch on Ryan Theriot near the wall in the fifth inning, and future Hall of Fame third baseman Chipper Jones robbed Pablo Sandoval of a hit in the sixth.But the Braves also made the biggest goof of the night when Angel Pagan grounded to first baseman Freddie Freeman to start the fourth. Jurrjens failed to step on the bag after receiving the throw, leading to an infield hit and opening the door to a six-run inning.AttendanceThe Braves announced 29,623 paid. Many foam tomahawks went unchopped.Up nextThe Giants continue their series at Turner Field on Wednesday as right-hander Ryan Vogelsong (7-4, 2.36) takes the mound against left-hander Mike Minor (5-6. 5.97). The Giants have won 10 of Vogelsongs last 12 starts; they even have a winning record (4-3) in his road assignments. Vogelsong has faced the Braves just once in his career, when he threw 3 13 scoreless relief innings in April of last season.