Miller allows 1 run in 7 innings, still loses 7-0 to Giants

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SAN FRANCISCO — Even as Andrelton Simmons led off the top of the eighth with a single, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez kept wondering if he should let starting pitcher Shelby Miller hit.

Down by a run, though, he had to play for the win and sent pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco to the plate.

Gonzalez's move did not work out as the San Francisco Giants came up with a six-run eighth against two relievers and beat the Braves 7-0 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

"There are seven of eight ways you could go right there," Gonzalez said. "In my mind I was going to let him hit in the eighth, he was that dominant. Shelby did his part."

When Simmons singled, Gonzalez continued to think through all the options.

"I was thinking, leave him in the game and bunt him over," he said. "We tried to go for the 'W' there and get a run and it didn't happen."

Brandon Belt hit an opposite-field, solo home run in the seventh inning to break up a scoreless pitching duel between Miller (5-2) and Chris Heston (5-3).

"It was a bad pitch. If I could take it back, I would," Miller said. "It was a tough hit to give up at that point in the game. It's something I can't do right there."

The Braves, who have scored a total of 10 runs over their last seven games, lost their third in four games and dropped their sixth in seven against the Giants.

Belt said he hit the ball on the barrel of the bat but still had his doubts whether it would leave the park.

Not many Braves thought it would leave the park either.

"I was surprised," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who spent a year playing with the Giants. "But he barreled it and back spun it and this park plays weird. It seemed to take off. Still, you're not winning a lot of games scoring zero runs."

Gonzalez didn't think the ball would travel that far, especially at night.

"I thought it would be caught," he said. "He's a big, strong guy, though and he got a hold of it. But you give up one run, you think you have a chance to win."

Miller, who came within one out of a no-hitter in his last road start, gave up five hits over his seven innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out one. He allowed his first home run since April 30, a span of five starts and still lowered his ERA to 1.48, matching Zack Greinke of the Dodgers for the NL lead.

"I felt like the sinker might have been the best it's been all year," said Miller, who has allowed two runs or less in all 10 of his starts.

Brandon Cunniff gave up a two-run triple to Hunter Pence as part of the big eighth inning. It was the first hit he's allowed to a right-hander all season, ending an 0-for-30 streak. It was the longest such hitless streak by a Braves pitcher to open his career since 1974.

TRAINER'S ROOM:

Braves: OF Joey Terdoslavich (left wrist sprain) went 5 for 13 (.385) in three games with Class-A Rome. He is continuing his rehab with Carolina.

UP NEXT:

Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (3-1, 4.25) starts Friday night's game against the Giants. He's coming off his best performance yet, a three-hitter over 7 2-3 innings. He allowed one run, walked one and struck out seven in a 2-1 victory over Miami. The former first-round draft pick is in his first year as a starter. He was used out of the bullpen after being called up last August.

Giants: RHP Tim Hudson (2-4, 5.04) makes his first start against the Braves since leaving the team for free agency. He gave up a season-high eight runs and six hits in 3 2-3 innings in his last start.

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