Austin Riley doesn't seem to need a learning curve to get comfortable with major league pitching. The Atlanta rookie has belted four homers in eight big league outings and looks to continue his strong start when the Braves visit the San Francisco Giants on Thursday in the finale of a four-game set.
The 22-year-old Riley slugged a three-run homer in Wednesday's 9-2 win over the Giants and he is batting .367 with nine RBIs in 30 at-bats. Shortstop Dansby Swanson also hit a three-run homer on Wednesday and Freddie Freeman hit a solo shot while reaching base four times on three hits and a walk. While Atlanta has won nine of its past 12 games, the Giants will be trying to earn a split of the series on Thursday after falling to 10-14 at home. San Francisco catcher Buster Posey has just two homers in 126 at-bats this season and narrowly missed his third in Wednesday's game on a play in which Braves right fielder Nick Markakis played the ball off the well and threw Posey out at second as he tried to stretch it into a double.
TV: 3:45 p.m. ET, MLB Network, FS Southeast (Atlanta), NBCS Bay Area (San Francisco)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Kevin Gausman (2-3, 4.31 ERA) vs. Giants LH Madison Bumgarner (3-4, 4.21)
Gausman received a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers in his last turn when he gave up two runs and six hits over six innings. The 28-year-old also pitched well in his previous start when he gave up one run and five hits over six innings in a win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gausman lost his lone career start against the Giants on Aug. 13, 2016 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles when he gave up two runs and two hits in four innings, striking out nine and issuing six walks.
Bumgarner is looking for his third straight victory even though he has allowed 11 runs (10 earned) in 18 1/3 innings over his last three turns. The 29-year-old defeated the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during the stretch while also receiving a no-decision against the Cincinnati Reds. Bumgarner is 7-3 with a 2.71 ERA in 12 career starts against Atlanta and last faced them on Aug. 28, 2016 when he gave up three runs and five hits over seven innings while recording the victory.
1. Braves OF Ronald Acuna Jr. was hitless in four at-bats on Wednesday after going 5-for-8 with two homers and two walks over the first two games of the series.
2. San Francisco 1B Brandon Belt is 0-for-8 in the series.
3. Freeman is 14-for-33 with five homers and eight RBIs during an eight-game hitting streak.