ATLANTA (AP) — With his team in a freefall, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez still sees some encouraging signs.
Starting pitcher Williams Perez is Gonzalez’s latest example.
“If you’re looking at the actual numbers, you’ll go, ‘The outing wasn’t that good,’ ” Gonzalez said after a 6-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night. “But if you evaluate him on other stuff — the way he went about it — it’s better than the numbers showed. It really is.”
Perez lost his second straight decision as the Braves were no match for Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner pitched into the eighth inning and Kelby Tomlinson drove in three runs for San Francisco, which has won 16 of 21. Duffy added a two-run double and Hunter Pence had an RBI single.
Perez (4-2) surrendered 10 hits, two walks and six runs in six-plus innings for the Braves, who have lost 11 of 14 and have dropped a season-worst 12 games under .500.
Since returning from the disabled list last Friday, Perez has allowed 14 earned runs in his last 10 1-3 innings. His outing dropped Atlanta starters to 1-6 with a 7.41 ERA over the team’s last nine games.
Bumgarner (12-6), last year’s World Series MVP and a three-time All-Star, allowed seven hits, one run and struck out nine in 7 1-3 innings. Just two baserunners made it into scoring position against the big left-hander.
Bumgarner gave up a leadoff single to Nick Markakis in the first and retired 10 straight before Chris Johnson singled in the fourth.
“He was commanding his fastball on both sides of the plate,” Gonzalez said. “He was throwing the slider backdoor to right-handed hitters. He was pretty dominant today against us.”
Tomlinson’s opposite-field single made it 2-0 in the second, and San Francisco was up 3-0 in the fourth when Ehire Adrianza doubled and scored on Tomlinson’s single up the middle.
Duffy and Pence drove in their runs in the Giants’ three-run seventh.
Bumgarner gave up Ryan Lavarnway’s RBI double in the seventh and left in the eighth after Eury Perez’s infield single.
Bumgarner’s performance reversed a personal season-long trend on the road. He had gone 6-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 10 starts away from home, a considerable contrast from the 11-4 record and 2.22 ERA he had in 18 road starts last year.
Bumgarner threw strikes on 81 of his 116 pitches.
“It’s getting about that time where we start hitting our stride,” Bumgarner said, “and everything’s coming together for us.”