SAN FRANCISCO — The Braves lost their third straight game, dropping Monday’s series opener to the Giants, 3-2, at Oracle Park. Atlanta is 87-54.

Here are five observations:

1. Once again, the Braves fought and pushed an opponent. Rarely do they go quietly into the night.

Down three runs in the top of the eighth, they saw their best opportunity in front of them. They nearly pulled off another comeback.

It fell short when Matt Olson, with the tying run on third, skied a ball that landed in the left fielder’s glove to end the inning.

“We made a little run right there and had the deck stacked in our favor,” manager Brian Snitker said. “Couldn’t get a big hit.”

To start the inning, the Braves loaded the bases on a double, a walk and a single. Then Dansby Swanson, who is as clutch as they come, laced a two-run single. (The second runner would have been out by a mile if the catcher caught a good throw from center field).

The next batter, Austin Riley, grounded into a double play.

“We had a chance right there,” Riley said. “I’ve got to do a better job in that at-bat, no doubt about that. That’s frustrating for me. You’ve got to give Olson a chance right there. Just didn’t get it done. At the end of the day, get to play again tomorrow and hopefully turn things around.”

The Giants brought in lefty Scott Alexander to face Olson, who couldn’t come through to bring in the tying run.

In the ninth, William Contreras grounded out with the tying run on second base.

2. Other than Sunday’s incredible ninth inning, the Braves’ offense has been trying to fight through a funk for a few days. Giants starter Alex Cobb, on the other hand, has been pitching really well.

The two ingredients mixed, resulting in Monday’s game.

Cobb threw 6 ⅔ shutout innings versus the Braves, who struck out seven times and did not walk once against him. Atlanta collected six hits against Cobb but could not capitalize on them. He dominated with his splitter.

“Just working down in the zone,” Riley said. “I thought he located that split pretty well. A lot of strike to balls is kind of what he was going.”

On Saturday, Seattle’s George Kirby held the Braves to a run over six innings. In Sunday’s game, Marco Gonzales did the same.

Then Cobb spun a gem versus the club that might sport the best offense in the game – when it is hot.

“The guy tonight was really good,” Snitker said. “He was on the attack. The split – he didn’t miss with any of them. They throw that many of them, you might get a couple of hangers, but he didn’t hang any of them.”

3. Snitker felt starter Spencer Strider, who allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings, “gave us a chance to win.”

Strider, who has a good sense of humor and high standards for himself, said he “pitched like an idiot a lot of times,” didn’t make necessary adjustments and failed to give the team a chance to win. This says a lot about Strider, whose competitiveness is one of his defining traits.

“You pitch to the context of the game,” Strider said. “Right there, their guy is shoving and he’s keeping us off balance. You know it was going to take a while to get the bats going, so I’ve got to keep us in the game. I can’t let us feel like we’re behind. And that just makes it feel – 2-0 feels like 5-0. And so I couldn’t do that. … We were in the game, but their guy was so good. Just couldn’t do it.”

4. The Braves made one error and one blunder that proved costly.

In the seventh inning, with a man on first, Michael Harris singled into the outfield. Olson ran to second but never appeared headed toward third. Harris looked up after rounding first but didn’t stop – he kept going. The Giants eventually caught him in a rundown for the second out of the inning, which killed a potential rally.

“I don’t know what happened there,” Snitker said. “We had a couple of baserunning plays today that (we) kind of shot ourselves in the foot. That’s the one thing: We can control the baserunning mistakes. It probably hurt us today.”

In the fifth inning, Vaughn Grissom went to his left and made a diving stop. He popped up but spiked the throw to Olson, who might have snagged it on another day. It was a tough play for both parties but one the Braves have made a lot this season. A run scored to give the Giants a three-run lead.

5. As the Braves got underway here, the Cubs were polishing off a series-opening victory over the Mets.

Facing the Giants, who will not make the postseason, the Braves had an opportunity to gain ground. They couldn’t do anything with it.

Atlanta has time – 21 games to be exact – but losses like this hurt. The Braves remain 1 ½ games behind the Mets.

Stat to know

3, 14 and 12 – In two prior starts against the Braves in his career, Cobb allowed three earned runs in 14 innings, with 12 strikeouts.


“You’re going to lose. Guys are going to have bad days, people are going to make mistakes. You play 162 games of anything, and all that’s going to happen. It’s frustrating, of course, and I feel like I didn’t really give us a good chance today, but just got to go out tomorrow and just stick to our game.” – Strider on the three-game skid

Up next

Right-hander Kyle Wright will start for the Braves on Tuesday versus the Giants, who will start right-hander Jakob Junis. First pitch is at 9:45 p.m. ET.