ATLANTA — Orlando Arcia could sense a big moment coming. All he had to do was look at the support he was getting from the Braves’ dugout to know he was about to deliver a walkoff hit.
“I took those first two fastballs for balls,” he said. “Honestly all I was trying to do was put the ball in play. Everybody in the dugout was giving me encouragement. I saw (Marcell) Ozuna at first base doing the same thing. All the other guys were rallying around me.”
Arcia drove in pinch-runner Phil Gosselin from second base with a tiebreaking single in the ninth inning, lifting the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
Camilo Doval began the ninth by walking Matt Olson on four pitches, the first free pass issued by the Giants in the game. After Gosselin replaced Olson, Doval retired Travis d'Arnaud on a popup before Ozuna singled to left. Doval (2-3) struck out Adam Duvall before Arcia drove the ball to left field.
It was Arcia’s fifth career walkoff RBI and his second this season. He hit a two-run homer against Boston on May 11.
“He has won a few games for us,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Just his at-bats are always under control. That was a big one tonight.”
In the top of the ninth, Braves closer Kenley Jansen (4-0) gave up a one-out single to pinch-hitter Joc Pederson, who advanced to third on Luis Gonzalez‘s single. Gonzalez took second on the throw to third, but Jansen stranded both runners with strikeouts of Thairo Estrada and pinch-hitter Brandon Crawford.
The defending World Series champion Braves moved 10 games over .500 for the second time this season. They have won two straight and 16 of 18 to stay in second place in the NL East, 5 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.
San Francisco, at 37-29 and in third place in the NL West, has dropped two straight. The Giants loaded the bases with no out in the eighth and had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth. They finished 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
In a matchup of staff aces, Fried and Logan Webb locked up and didn’t budge in seven innings apiece. Webb allowed six hits and one run with no walks and seven strikeouts. Fried gave up five hits and one run with two walks and eight strikeouts.
“I think we were like one excellent at-bat away from winning this game,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “I know we had a lot of opportunities to win it against a guy who is clearly one of the best pitchers in baseball. Webbie obviously matched him kind of pitch for pitch, in position to win a game on the road against an excellent team. We can take some good, positive signals away from that, but we have to finish.”
D’Arnaud made it 1-0 in the bottom of the second with his 10th homer and his fourth in his last five games. The ball sailed 414 feet into the left-field seats. The Braves lead the NL with 101 homers. It was the first long ball Webb has allowed in 27 career innings against Atlanta.
Michael Harris II tripled with two out in the fifth, but Webb got Ronald Acuna Jr. to ground out to end the threat.
Fried pitched out of trouble in the second, stranding a runner at third with a pickoff of Gonzalez at first and a strikeout of Estrada. He retired seven straight before giving up a single to Darin Ruf and striking out Evan Longoria to end the fourth.
Fried lowered his ERA to 1.89 in five career starts and one relief appearance against San Francisco.
Atlanta has won eight straight at home, the longest streak since winning 13 in a row from Aug. 17-Sept. 7, 2019. The Braves have outscored the opposition 46-18 over that stretch.
Webb has a 1.33 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta. He has given up all six of his homers on the road this season.
“They won the World Series,” Webb said. “They’re no joke and they might’ve gotten even better. Tonight kind of had the playoff feel to it, for sure. It’s always fun playing against a team like this.”
ROCKING THE PEARLS
Pederson wore his signature pearls for the first time this season as he received his 2021 World Series ring before the game. He was one of four outfielders the Braves acquired last year after Acuna went down with a season-ending knee injury and quickly became a fan favorite with key hits and the pearls he started wearing in September.
Pederson sent his original string of pearls to Cooperstown at the request of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and bought another string from the same jeweler. The Braves included a single pearl in their diamond-studded championship rings.
“It just felt right to wear them, and I think it goes with the whole story of why I started wearing them was because it felt right, and Atlanta took it to another level,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t want to wear them again until we came here.”
Pederson wasn’t in the lineup with the Giants facing a left-handed starting pitcher.
CHANGE OF FORTUNE
The Braves threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but Estrada made up for a fielding error earlier in the inning by spearing Dansby Swanson‘s liner and doubling up Harris for the second out. Dominic Leone struck out Austin Riley to end the threat with a runner at second.
Braves RHP Spencer Strider (3-2, 2.45 ERA) will take the mound for the second game of a four-game series. Giants manager Gabe Kapler indicated that RHP Anthony DeSclafani will come off the 60-day disabled list to make his first start since April, but the team has yet to formally announce a starter.