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Giants top Braves, surge into first place

Two moments shook AT&T Park during the Giants’ 4-2 win over the Braves Friday night.

The loudest was when a spectating Steph Curry appeared on the big screen. Fans erupted with postseason-level decibels, quickly rising to their feet and chanting ‘MVP’ for the Giants gear-clad Warrior and his family.

The other happened a few innings earlier in the first inning, when Buster Posey smashed a first-pitch fastball off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz (L, 3-2, 3.96 ERA) into the left field stands, bringing Joe Panik along home with him for an early 2-0 Giants lead.

The Giants MVP got to meet the Warriors MVP before the game:

“There was a little extra electricity in the air. It was nice of him to be here … I’m pulling for him (in the Finals), for all of them.”

Posey took little time to adjust to Foltynewicz’s scorching pitches:

“Anytime someone’s throwing an upper 90, you gotta be ready for that fastball at some point.”

But also Friday came a few moments of silence.

The first came before the game, when fans and the press paused to remember longtime Oakland sports writer Ron ‘Bergy’ Bergman. The press box legend who covered East Bay sports from the A’s to the Warriors and Raiders, died Thursday at age 80.

The next went almost unnoticed. With runners on the corners, Atlanta outfielder Cameron Maybin cracked a difficult ground ball off Tim Hudson to Brandon Crawford, who handled it well enough to get a throw off to Brandon Belt at first. Belt couldn’t get a grasp on it, though, allowing Andrelton Simmons to score from third.

A bummer, because it cut the Braves’ deficit to one run. But it had grander ramifications; the run closed out the Giants’ home scoreless inning streak at 39 innings.

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

Since the ninth inning on May 10, no Giants pitcher had allowed a run at AT&T Park until Maybin’s fateful hit. The streak ties the 1948 Giants’ streak for most in franchise history.

Hudson (W, 3-4, 4.62 ERA) gave up the run, but was near flawless otherwise, getting his first win against his former team (though he’s only pitched twice against the Braves). He can now check 29 MLB teams off his to-beat list. Only the A’s remain.

Hudson acknowledged his loyal fanbase:

“Most of my people back home are Braves fans, but not tonight.”

He bounced back from his 3-2/3 inning post-rain delay meltdown in Colorado with a solid seven-inning outing. Hudson stuck to the game that’s brought him relative success here at home, striking out four and forcing most of the rest into ground out situations. He kept his sinker down, mixed a nice fastball in.

Manager Bruce Bochy wasn’t doubting Hudson’s ability to bounce back:

“That rain delay affected him, he’s not a kid anymore.”

Fellow teammate from the south Posey, too, knew Huddy had it in him:

“He’s the guy that I’m a fan of … I mean, I am a little biased, I watched him when I was in high school.”

Posey’s two-run dinger was enough to settle a Giants win, but the hot bats weren’t ready to settle.

They rallied, like in yesterday’s game, in the eighth with Atlanta reliever Jim Johnson on the mound. It started with walk to Joe Panik, who followed up with his second stolen base. Posey struck again with a big ground rule double to score Panik and put the Giants up 3-1.

Johnson walked Belt intentionally, presumably, to set up a potential double-play — a half-baked idea with the Giants’ RBI leader Crawford up next. Crawford delivered an RBI single to score Posey for a 4-1 Giants lead.

Freddie Freeman came back with an answer of his own in the ninth, a solo shot off stingy Santiago Casilla to end it at 4-2. Casilla had only given up one home run, to Arizona’s A.J. Pollack, this season.

The Giants hold a 2-0 series lead over the Braves and are officially in first place in the NL West after a Dodger loss tonight. They’ve won five in a row and seven straight at home.

The series continues Saturday at 7:05 p.m., with Tim Lincecum (5-2, 2.56 ERA) facing Atlanta’s Williams Perez (0-0, 4.05 ERA).

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