EXTRA BAGGS: Waiting out the blob, Beltran has MRI, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Waiting out the blob, Beltran has MRI, etc.

BOX SCORE

ST. LOUIS Just like every other day, Buster Posey put onhis gear and walked out to the bullpen to warm up his starting pitcherWednesday night.

More than sixhours later, Posey walked to the bullpen again.

Lefty reliever Javier Lopez needed to heat up again after arain delay nearly long enough to knock out a viewing of Dances With Wolves.

That was a little bit different, Posey said. Havent donethat before.

Assuming they didnt hold a Kevin Costner film appreciationnight, how exactly did the Giants wait out that three-hour 28-minute delay?

A lot of sitting, Posey said. I walked to the kitchen. Iwalked to the training room. I walked to the bathroom. and sat some more.

The Giants knew that if the approaching storm -- a blob on the Doppler big enough to scare Steve McQueen -- hit duringthe game, the delay would be a lengthy one.

So we tried to relax, Posey said. Youll go nuts ifyoure on the bike or moving around all the time. You just try to keep it looseand not sit here and think too much.

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Matt Cain had plenty of time with his thoughts. The lastaction in the Giants 3-1 loss in Game 3 was manager Bruce Bochy, walking totake the baseball from Cain in the seventh inning after the Cardinals added arun on an RBI groundout.

But Cain probably didnt need much time to script hispostgame comments. Hes stood at his locker so many times after pitching welland having nothing to show for it.

That was probably the best Ive felt in three starts, saidCain, and yes, that makes it all the more damaging that the Giants offensefailed to seize this potentially pivotal game.

Cain said he wanted to throw his 2-2 slider down and in toMatt Carpenter, but missed over the plate and paid for it. Carpenter, whoreplaced an injured Carlos Beltran, hit a two-run home run that erased theGiants 1-0 lead.

With him out, yeah, you try to take advantage of it and Ididnt do a good job of it, Cain said. What (Beltran) has done in thepostseason is tremendous. I just didnt make a pitch.

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Beltran left during the game for an MRI on his left knee andthe St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that results were negative. Beltran wasdealing with a sore hand, too.

It would be karma, or something, if Beltran werentavailable for part or all of the remaining games, since the Giants plunged fromfirst place while he was out with a hand injury in August of last season.

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Marco Scutaro did not look the slightest bit impaired twodays after getting steamrolled by Matt Hollidays takeout slide at second base.Scutaro did opt to get the force at first base after looking home on that RBIgrounder in the seventh.

I thought that was the right decision. It wouldve beenbang-bang at the plate, the ball was wet and a bad throw couldve turned thatinning into a disaster.

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I thought the Giants had a safety squeeze on when Cainfouled off a first bunt attempt in the fourth inning. But Cain said that wasntthe case. Gregor Blanco might have dashed off third base, but he only wouldve continuedhome if the ball got away or something strange happened.

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The Giants only made Jason Motte throw 19 pitches whileconverting the first six-out save of his career. That means the Cardinalscloser should be available for Game 4.

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Before losing Wednesday night, the Giants were 9-2 on theroad in postseason play since 2010.

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I can imagine the first lines of Adam Wainwrights scoutingreport on the Giants for Game 4 goes something like this:

Dont let Posey beat you.

Maybe in all caps, 48-point font.

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

Early offense, six strong from Cueto lift Giants past Braves in finale

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- 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.

FUN FACTOR:
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."

FANCY FIELDING:
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.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
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.

UP NEXT:
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.

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

Giants lineup: Posey catching, Nunez at third base against Braves

The Giants look to win two straight against the Braves and Bruce Bochy has made a few changes to the lineup Sunday.

Atlanta Braves (21-26)

1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Rio Ruiz (L) 3B
8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
9. R.A. Dickey (R) P

San Francisco Giants (21-30)

1. Denard Span (L) CF
2. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Justin Ruggiano (R) RF
7. Joe Panik (L) 2B
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) LF
9. Johnny Cueto (R) P