Alex Cobb threw seven shutout innings and the San Francisco Giants opened a three-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves with a 3-2 victory on Monday night.
Willie Calhoun, making his Giants debut, contributed a run-scoring single in front of his hometown fans.
Second baseman Vaughn Grissom’s throwing error plated the game’s eventual difference-making run in the fifth inning, leading the Braves (87-54) to a third straight defeat and preventing them from cutting into a 1 1/2-game deficit behind the New York Mets (89-53) in the National League East.
En route to a third consecutive win, the Giants never trailed, scoring twice in the second on RBI singles by Calhoun and Luis Gonzalez before going up 3-0 thanks to Grissom’s error in the fifth.
Calhoun’s hit came in his first at-bat for the Giants after having been promoted from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day. The six-year veteran of the Texas Rangers is a native of Vallejo, Calif., a suburb of Oakland.
Cobb (6-6) yielded just six hits without issuing a walk. He struck out seven.
The Braves jumped all over Giants reliever Zack Littell in the eighth, loading the bases on an Eddie Rosario double, a Robbie Grossman walk and a Ronald Acuna Jr. single. Dansby Swanson cut the deficit to 3-2 with a two-run single before Littell got Austin Riley to ground into a double play.
With two outs and the potential tying run at third, Scott Alexander came on to get Matt Olson to line out to left field, preserving the one-run lead.
Alexander went on to record his first save, stranding Michael Harris II at second to end the game.
Grissom committed his key error with two outs and runners at first and second in the fifth. He dove to his left to field Thairo Estrada’s grounder on the outfield grass but threw low to first, allowing Mike Yastrzemski to score when the ball got away from Olson.
The unearned run was charged to Braves starter Spencer Strider (10-5), who allowed three runs (two earned) and nine hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
Estrada had three hits, while Gonzalez and Brandon Crawford collected two apiece for the Giants (68-73), who were opening a six-game homestand against the Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Rosario went 3-for-3, while Acuna chipped in with two hits for Atlanta. The Braves matched the Giants both in total hits with 10 and extra-base hits with one, a double apiece.