Riley homers again as Braves beat Giants 5-4 in 13 innings

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SAN FRANCISCO — Austin Riley hit a game-tying home run in the eighth inning then drove in the go-ahead run in the 13th with a two-out single off Reyes Moronta, lifting the Atlanta Braves past the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Thursday.

Riley and Ozzie Albies both had three hits for Atlanta and Tyler Flowers homered. The Braves have won 10 of 13.

Luke Jackson (3-1), who blew his fourth save on Tuesday, retired six batters to win.

Atlanta hit eight home runs in the four games with San Francisco, the most the Braves have hit in one series at the Giants’ waterfront ballpark. They hit seven in a four-game series at Oracle Park in 2012.

Tyler Austin hit his first career pinch-hit home run, and Brandon Belt scored on a wild pitch for San Francisco.

Riley already had one hit before his two-run homer off Tony Watson with two outs in the eighth. It was the 22-year-old’s third home run of the series and fifth overall.

The Braves had only one baserunner over the next four innings before Dansby Swanson singled against Moronta (1-4) leading off the 13th. After Freddie Freeman flew out, Swanson stole second base. One out later, Riley lashed a single to right field and Swanson scored easily.

San Francisco got the tying run on base with one out in the bottom of the 13th but Jackson struck out Mac Williamson and Atlanta third baseman Josh Donaldson made a barehanded grab on Donovan Solano‘s short chopper, throwing to first for the final out.

Atlanta’s win overshadowed a strong outing by Giants starter Madison Bumgarner. The big lefty allowed two runs on six hits, walked two and left with a 4-2 lead. Bumgarner has a 2.12 ERA in nine games against the Braves since his last loss to them on Aug. 25, 2012.

Braves starter Kevin Gausman allowed three runs in six innings. Gausman has one win in his last nine starts.

CONSECUTIVE K’S

Will Smith‘s swinging strikeout of Charlie Culberson leading off the ninth was the left-handed reliever’s 11th consecutive out to come via strikeout, a San Francisco record.

TRAINERS ROOM

Giants: Brandon Crawford was held out of the lineup because of conjunctivitis (pink eye). The three-time Gold Glove shortstop is likely to sit out Friday as well, although manager Bruce Bochy said Crawford is available to pinch-hit.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 6.91 ERA) will start Friday in St. Louis. Foltynewicz is winless in six outings and has allowed two or more home runs in five of them.

Giants: LHP Drew Pomeranz (1-4, 5.66) faces Arizona on Friday in his second start since coming off the injured list. Pomeranz is winless in nine career games (six starts) against the Diamondbacks.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.