Braves rout Giants behind Ian Anderson’s return, three homers

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Braves pitcher Ian Anderson comments on his first start upon returning off the IL against the San Francisco Giants.

The Braves took a series from the team with baseball’s best record, beating the San Francisco Giants Sunday at Truist Park for the second time in three days.

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The Braves won the series finale in a 9-0 rout as their offense strongly supported pitcher Ian Anderson, who worked 5-2/3 scoreless innings in his first start back from a seven-week stint on the injured list.

Braves 9, Giants 0 (box score)

Between Anderson’s encouraging return and an offense powered by home runs from Jorge Soler, Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies, the Braves enjoyed the final day of a challenging homestand that started with two losses in two games against the New York Yankees and ended with wins in the first and third games of the series against the National League West-leading Giants (84-46).

“To take a series from this club is pretty good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “That’s a really good sign for our guys. ... I’m very happy with the way this weekend went.”

The NL East-leading Braves (70-59) finished the weekend with a 4-1/2 game lead over the second-place Phillies and a 7-1/2 game lead over the third-place Mets, both of whom also won Sunday.

The Braves departed after their game for Los Angeles, where they’ll open a three-game series against the defending World Series champion Dodgers on Monday night.

“It doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure,” Snitker said.

San Francisco Giants' LaMonte Wade Jr. (left) steals second base past Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson in the third inning Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Ben Margot/AP)
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San Francisco Giants' LaMonte Wade Jr. (left) steals second base past Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson in the third inning Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (Ben Margot/AP)

Credit: Ben Margot

Credit: Ben Margot

“We’re definitely in a good place as a team,” Anderson said. “Heading out west, we’re feeling good.”

Anderson, who hadn’t appeared in a major-league game since July 11 because of right shoulder inflammation, will be a substantial boost to the Braves’ chances the rest of the season if he continues to pitch as he did Sunday. He allowed four hits, walked two, struck out none, threw 86 pitches and reported no issues with the shoulder.

“It felt great,” Anderson said. “It felt normal being out there, pitching in front of the fans and kind of getting that adrenaline rush back. The (shoulder) rehab process went really well, so I’m just looking forward to contributing down the stretch here.”

“You come out of rehab against a team like this and shut them down, it’s awesome,” Snitker said.

The Braves took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on two long, loud home runs against Giants starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. The inning opened with a 109.3-mph blast to left by Soler, his 20th homer of the season and seventh in 25 games since joining the Braves. Two batters later, Riley lined a two-run homer to left, his 28th homer of the season and 14th since the All-Star break.

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Outfielder Eddie Rosario comments on his first start with Braves and how he hopes to earn playing time in crowded outfield.

A two-run triple to right field by Eddie Rosario, making his first start for the Braves, stretched the lead to 5-0 in the sixth inning.

“I want to try to help the team win,” Rosario said. “Everything I can do, I’ll be there ready to go.”

The Braves tacked on two runs in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth, with Albies’ solo home run — his 23rd homer of the season — completing the scoring.

Four Braves relievers followed Anderson to the mound and finished the shutout, the Braves’ 15th of the season, tied with the Brewers and Giants for the NL lead.

Now the Braves go from hosting the first-place team in the NL West to visiting the second-place team in that stellar division. The Dodgers have formidable starting pitchers lined up for all three games against the Braves: left-hander Julio Urias (14-3, 3.17 ERA) on Monday night, right-hander Walker Buehler (13-2, 2.02) on Tuesday and right-hander Max Scherzer (12-4, 2.51) on Wednesday.

The Braves’ scheduled starters for the series are, in order, Drew Smyly, Charlie Morton and Max Fried.

After the games against the Dodgers, another intriguing series looms as the Braves will go to Colorado for a four-game set beginning Thursday against the Rockies, who have MLB’s second-best home record.

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