ATLANTA (AP) — Joc Pederson felt like an elite NFL wide receiver when he made a game-saving catch for the Atlanta Braves.
Jorge Soler hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, Pederson made a leaping catch at the wallfor the final out and the Braves rallied to beat San Francisco 6-5 on Friday night to end the Giants’ five-game winning streak.
Wilmer Flores led off the ninth with a homer against Braves closer Will Smith to trim Atlanta’s lead to one.
Smith got a groundout and a strikeout before Tommy La Stella drove a high fly to the warning track in right. Pederson overran it slightly but reached back as he jumped into the wall and held on to complete Smith’s 29th save. A video review confirmed the catch was good.
“I did my best Davante Adams impression,” Pederson said, comparing himself to the Green Bay Packers playmaking wideout. “I went up and came down with the ball. ‘It’s a catch!’”
Perhaps most impressive was Pederson’s ability to keep the ball as it appeared to be on the verge of escaping the palm of his glove as he fell to the warning track.
“It was truly an incredible play,” Soler said through a translator.
“I had to look at it on the replay, to see it for sure,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I asked Joc when he came through ‘Did you catch that?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I caught it.’”
Giants third baseman Kris Bryant was pulled following a 35-minute rain delay in the first inning due to right side tightness. Manager Gabe Kapler said the decision was made prior to the delay, and that the team would have more on the 2016 NL MVP’s status Saturday.
Buster Posey hit a two-run homer in his return to San Francisco’s lineup and the Giants led 4-2 before the Braves rallied with four runs in the seventh. After Ozzie Albies’ RBI double off Tony Watson (5-4) trimmed the Giants’ lead to one, Soler hit Zack Littell’s first pitch over the left-field wall for a two-run lead.
Adam Duvall also homered for the Braves in the matchup of NL division leaders. The Giants began the night 2 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Braves were 5 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia in the NL East.
“We were able to shut the door on one of the best teams in baseball,” Pederson said. “That’s a very big win for us.”
Posey, a native of Leesburg, Georgia, returned after missing two games with discomfort in his left knee. He lifted a first-inning fastball from Max Fried high toward the right-field foul pole. Fried watched with an incredulous look as the fly ball remained fair and fell into the first row of the right field seats.
Kevin Gausman allowed two runs on six hits in six innings in his first start against the Braves since pitching for Atlanta in 2018-19.
“I think he was trying to find his rhythm early,” Kapler said. “I don’t think he had it. … I think he got better as the game went on.”
A.J. Minter (2-4) pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Fried, who allowed four runs, three earned, in six innings.
Following the first-inning delay, Dansby Swanson’s infield hit loaded the bases with two outs, but Gausman ended the inning on Travis d’Arnaud’s grounder to first base.
Giants: C Curt Casali was available after leaving Thursday night’s game with dizziness. Kapler said tests on Casali “didn’t find any evidence of a concussion.” … Kapler said 2B Donovan Solano gave permission to disclose he was fully vaccinated when he tested positive for the coronavirus and was placed under quarantine on Thursday. .
Braves: RHP Ian Anderson, who has been on the injured list since July 13 with right shoulder inflammation, is expected to be activated to start Sunday’s final game of the series. Anderson is 5-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 18 starts.
Outfielder Eddie Rosario was reinstated from the Braves’ 10-day injured list but did not play. Outfielder Abraham Almonte was designated for assignment. Rosario was recovering from an abdominal strain when acquired from Cleveland at the trade deadline.
The Giants optioned catcher Chadwick Tromp to Triple-A Sacramento to clear a spot for Gausman’s return from the COVID-19 injured list.
Celebrating with his teammates in the Braves’ dugout following his homer, Soler pulled off his batting helmet to reveal a “Soler Power” headband. Acquired from Kansas City at the trade deadline, Soler has 19 homers, including six in 23 games with Atlanta.
Giants: RHP Logan Webb (7-3, 2.84) will try to continue a strong second half. Webb is 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his last five starts though he has been more successful at home this season, with a 1.71 ERA compared to his 3.88 road mark.
Braves: RHP Huascar Ynoa (4-3, 2.89) is 0-1 while allowing a combined three runs in two starts since missing half the season with a right hand fracture.
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