The Giants were nine outs away from moving to 40 games over .500, but the bullpen couldn’t preserve a lead as the Atlanta Braves rallied to hand San Francisco a tough 6-5 loss at Truist Park on Friday night.
Kevin Gausman went six gritty innings and handed over a 4-2 lead to Tony Watson, but the veteran lefty reliver ran into immediate trouble. After striking out Adam Duvall to start the inning, Watson walked Joc Pederson and gave up a single to Guillermo Heredia. Ozzie Albies followed with an RBI double and manager Gabe Kapler turned to righty Zack Littell to try to wiggle out the jam.
Jorge Soler didn’t cooperate, launching a go-ahead three-run homer on the first pitch he saw from Littell.
The Giants (83-45), who have shown they never quit in games, got one run back in the top of the ninth on a solo home run by Wilmer Flores, but that’s all they would get against former San Francisco closer Will Smith.
The Giants jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after Buster Posey hit a two-run homer in the first inning.
With two outs in the ninth, Tommy La Stella looked to extend the game with a deep drive to right, but Pederson made a great catch as he crashed into the wall to end it.
The Giants are used to being on the winning side of incredible endings this season, so this loss will sting for a little bit.