SAN FRANCISCO - The Atlanta Braves are threatening to turn a tight NL East race into a runaway finish.
Sean Newcomb pitched six strong innings, Ozzie Albies sparked the offense with two extra-base hits and Atlanta Braves beat the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Monday night.
The Braves moved five games ahead of Philadelphia atop the NL East and reduced their magic number to 15 with their fourth win in five games.
The Giants lost their ninth straight, matching their worst skid since 2006.
Albies was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and two runs. Kurt Suzuki was 3 for 3, including a double leading off a two-run ninth inning.
Albies scored the go-ahead run in the seventh. He led off with a double against starter Dereck Rodriguez (6-3) and was awarded third when center fielder Gorkys Hernandez’s throw trying to catch Albies after a wide turn at first was off the mark. Hernandez was charged with an error.
“Always aggressive,” Albies said. “He throws behind me, I’m going.”
Albies scored on Dansby Swanson’s sacrifice fly that made it 2-1.
Albies had an RBI triple and scored a run in the ninth.
“He’s an aggressive kid,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s always looking to advance to the next base, that’s for sure.”
Newcomb (12-8) allowed a run on three hits. He struck out eight and walked none.
“I was just attacking the hitters the whole time, trying to make them uncomfortable,” Newcomb said.
Braves closer A.J. Minter pitched a scoreless ninth for his 14th save.
Braves OF Ronald Acuna Jr. was among the first eight players named to represent Major League Baseball in the 2018 All-Star Tour with Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, which opens Nov. 7 at the Tokyo Dome. ... Acuna’s 25th home run on Sunday moved him into a three-way tie fifth place on the career list for players under 21 with Hall of Famers Eddie Matthews (1952) and Orlando Cepeda (1958).
Braves: RHP Arodys Vizcaino (right shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday for the first time in five days. He’s expected to be activated by Friday, manager Brian Snitker said. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy (right knee tendinitis) threw a simulated game over the weekend but is not expected to pitch again this season. ... RHP Jose Ramirez (right shoulder inflammation) has been shut down for the rest of the season. ... IF Rio Ruiz was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (10-9, 2.75 ERA) is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts against the Giants.
Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (6-10, 4.33) is tied for 11th in franchise history for a rookie with 118 strikeouts. He ranks seventh in that category in the San Francisco era.