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    The only thing that would have made Brandon Crawford feel better about his game-ending homer was if it had come early enough to reward Madison Bumgarner with a win.
    Crawford homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth after Bumgarner threw seven scoreless innings Marqise Lee Jersey , giving the San Francisco Giants their fourth straight victory, 1-0 over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night.
    ”It would have been nice to get him a win,” Crawford said. ”He pitched well enough that he should have gotten one. … He looked like vintage Bum out there. He had everything working. His slider has been a lot sharper his last couple of outings, his curveball is looking a lot better and he’s locating stuff.”
    Colorado starter Kyle Freeland matched Bumgarner with seven spotless innings of his own, setting the stage for Crawford’s dramatic shot.
    Left-hander Harrison Musgrave (0-3) entered in the ninth to face the left-handed-hitting Crawford. The move backfired when Crawford launched a high drive that cleared the wall in right field for his third career walk-off homer, sending the Rockies to their fourth consecutive loss.
    ”It just kind of kept to the middle,” Musgrave said. ”Good hitters hit it out of the park and that’s what happened. Just didn’t execute a pitch and you get punished up here for stuff like that.”
    Crawford was mobbed by teammates at home plate as the Giants improved to 42-39 at the halfway point of the season. That’s 12 games ahead of their pace from a year ago despite playing the first two months without an injured Bumgarner.
    ”You always want more,” Bumgarner said. ”But the spot we’re in now is not a bad place to be.”
    Reyes Moronta (4-1) got two outs for the win.
    Bumgarner retired the first 14 batters he faced before Carlos Gonzalez became the first Colorado hitter to reach, on a broken-bat double that landed just inside the left-field line.
    Bumgarner walked the next two batters to load the bases before escaping the jam by striking out Freeland. The 2014 World Series MVP allowed just two hits with eight strikeouts in his second consecutive scoreless start. He pitched eight shutout innings to beat San Diego for his first win of the season last Thursday.
    Freeland was just as stingy, permitting only four hits and pitching around a pair of errors by first baseman Ian Desmond. Freeland got Pablo Sandoval to ground out with runners on first and third to end the fourth, and retired Crawford on a popup with runners at the corners to end the sixth.
    Freeland has 11 quality starts in 16 appearances this season.
    ”What a great matchup between two lefties, one just starting his career and getting his feet on the ground, and Bumgarner, obviously we know what he’s done in his career,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. ”Really proud of Kyle.”
    TRAINER’S ROOM
    Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg and LHP Mike Dunn were activated from the disabled list. RHPs Jeff Hoffman and Brooks Pounders were optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque.
    Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder) will likely need at least one more rehab start after lasting just four innings for Triple-A Sacramento on Tuesday. Samardzija’s outing was cut short because he threw 40 pitches in the first.
    WALK IT OFF
    Crawford gave the Giants their sixth walk-off homer in a 1-0 win since moving to San Francisco in 1958. The previous one was hit by Steve Decker against Houston in 1991. The others were hit by Bobby Murcer vs. Philadelphia in 1976, Tom Haller in 1967 vs. Pittsburgh Telvin Smith Jersey , and Willie Mays in 1966 against Houston and 1963 off Warren Spahn in a 16-inning game that Juan Marichal completed against the Milwaukee Braves.
    MILESTONE
    Bumgarner struck out DJ LeMahieu to open the game, giving him 1,500 Ks for his career in 1,534 1/3 innings. He’s the ninth-fastest lefty to reach the mark in the live ball era starting in 1920.
    UP NEXT
    Jon Gray (7-7) looks to beat the Giants for the first time in six career starts in the series finale. Gray is coming off his third career 12-strikeout game, the most in Colorado history. Chris Stratton (8-5) pitches for San Francisco.


    On the morning of June 18 two years ago, the Atlanta Braves were 21-46. Now they’re atop the NL East.
    Atlanta has turned its stocked farm system into a major league contender faster than expected, and after Sunday’s 4-1 win over San Diego, the Braves lead second-place Washington by 3 1/2 games. At 42-29, they’re even with Milwaukee for the National League’s best record and look poised to be a factor in what should be an entertaining race for that league’s five postseason spots.
    After three straight seasons with at least 90 losses, Atlanta is making a jump similar to what Minnesota did a season ago, when the Twins improved from 59 wins to 85 and earned a wild card.
    If you’re worried Atlanta is a fluke, there aren’t many obvious red flags. The Braves have a run differential of plus-67, the second-best mark in the NL. They’ve been fortunate at times (11-4 in one-run games) and unfortunate at times (1-6 in extra innings).
    The Braves are second in the NL in OPS after finishing 11th a year ago. Their ERA has improved from 12th to fifth. They have an MVP candidate in slugger Freddie Freeman, and 21-year-old second baseman Ozzie Albies has 16 home runs. Outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. is on the disabled list after a knee injury, but he’s been considered one of the game’s top prospects. Shortstop Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft Dante Fowler Jr Jersey , has improved his OPS from .636 a season ago to .737.
    That formula – Freeman surrounded by young standouts – could serve the Braves well for a while, and Atlanta has also received a lift from some older contributors. Nick Markakis is hitting .327, and Anibal Sanchez is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA for the Braves after signing a minor league contract before the season.
    In November, Atlanta was hit with major penalties for circumventing international signing rules. That might hurt the Braves in the future, but it doesn’t seem to have had much of an effect on their ability to compete in 2018.
    Other developments from around the majors:
    MIDSEASON RUN
    The Dodgers are 11-3 in June and have recovered from their poor start. They now trail Arizona by just 1 1/2 games atop the NL West.
    Los Angeles can hope this season is following a similar trajectory to 2017, when the Dodgers went 21-7 in June on their way to 104 wins.
    HIGHLIGHT
    If you’re concerned about pace of play in baseball, you probably weren’t crazy about Joe Maddon’s maneuvering Wednesday. Maddon began the bottom of the eighth by bringing Steve Cishek in to pitch for the Cubs. After a single, Brian Duensing came on to pitch, but Cishek stayed in the game in left field. That enabled Cishek to go back to the mound one out later, with Duensing taking over in left. Duensing eventually went back to pitch and finished out the inning.
    It was a clever way for Maddon to keep both pitchers available throughout the inning, but Chicago still lost 1-0 to Milwaukee.
    LINE OF THE WEEK
    San Diego’s Freddy Galvis went 5 for 5, including a three-run homer, in a 9-3 win over Atlanta on Friday night. Galvis drove in four runs in the game.



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