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Giants reeling from injuries, last-inning losses

Nothing is going right for the defending World Series champs.

The injuries are piling up. So are the losses.

Martin Prado drove in the winning run for Atlanta with a two-out single in the 11th, giving the Braves their second straight win in the last at-bat over the San Francisco Giants, 2-1 on Tuesday night.

The Giants put outfielder Carlos Beltran and pitcher Sergio Romo on the disabled list before the game, then lost starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez to a sprained ankle in the third inning. At least three other players were hurting, too.

San Francisco lost for the 13th time in its last 18 games, a slide that has knocked the team out of first in the NL West. Arizona increased its lead to 3½ games by beating Philadephia, and Atlanta is now up six on the Giants in the wild-card race.

"We'll get there," said Sanchez, who was on crutches after the game. "We've got a month to live. We just have to be close."

Randall Delgado had already dressed by the time the Braves won, but he sure did his part. The 21-year-old rookie allowed no hits through six innings in his second big-league start. He was lifted after giving up his lone hit — Cody Ross' leadoff homer in the seventh that tied the game at 1.

Delgado insisted that he never thought about a no-hitter, but he knew how well he pitched. That's going to make it even more difficult to return to the minor leagues; he was called up to fill in for injured Tommy Hanson, and will head right back to Triple-A with Jair Jurrjens coming off the disabled list on Wednesday.

"I'm so proud of myself," Delgado said.

Pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad sparked the winning rally with a ground-rule double. He moved over to third on a ground out and came home on Prado's opposite-field single to right off Javier Lopez (5-2).

Prado's teammates charged out of the dugout and caught up him around second base, pelting him with dirt and the resin bag in what has become a familiar team tradition. The Braves lead the NL with 22 wins in the last at-bat.

On Monday, Atlanta rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the ninth inning, beating the Giants 5-4 on Freddie Freeman's two-out, two-run single off Brian Wilson.

"This is what I really love about this team," Prado said. "We always go all the way to the end."

Four San Francisco relievers combined to allow only six hits and one earned run in eight innings after Sanchez went down.

"That's a tough one but I'm proud of the staff," manager Bruce Bochy said. "They fought hard, man. They were into it."

The Giants may soon be out of players.

Sanchez sprained his left ankle when he slipped in front of the mound while fielding Delgado's sacrifice bunt. He managed to make an awkward throw to first base from the ground, barely getting Delgado, but threw only one more pitch.

After delivering one that was nearly over the head of Michael Bourn, Sanchez limped off the mound and was replaced by Guillermo Mota. The left-hander was on crutches after the game; he hopes to try out the ankle in a couple of days to determine if he can make his next start.

"It's disappointing what happened," Sanchez said. "When I pressed on my ankle, I couldn't go."

After replacing Sanchez, Mota gave up a two-out single to Bourn that drove in speedster Jose Constanza, the surprising sparkplug of the Braves offense. The 27-year-old career minor leaguer reached on a bunt single and is hitting .403 since coming up to Atlanta in late June, playing so well that he's starting ahead of last year's rookie star, Jason Heyward.

The Giants cut off the throw home and got Bourn in a rundown — and what a rundown it was. Bourn drew five throws running back and forth before getting tagged out on a weary, headfirst slide into first.

A couple of key defensive plays kept the Giants alive in extra innings — Aubrey Huff's catch slamming into the wall, Brandon Belt's gutsy throw to get Freeman scrambling back to first after a hit — but they couldn't score off another of the Braves' bright young prospects, Arodys Vizcaino (1-0).

The 20-year-old picked up his first big league win with two scoreless innings. Manager Fredi Gonzalez gave him the game ball and the lineup sheet the Braves used in their dugout.

Delgado looked right at home, too. He faced the minimum through six innings, the only baserunner reaching in the fourth when Mike Fontenot walked with one out, only to be erased on a nifty double play by the Braves.

Second baseman Dan Uggla went to his knees to field a grounder by Pablo Sandoval, wheeled around and threw to second, where shortstop Alex Gonzalez made the relay throw while leaping over a sliding Fontenot.

Gonzalez had hoped to get six innings out of the rookie, who made his major league debut on June 17 against defending AL champion Texas. Delgado was a bit shaky in that one, giving up seven hits and three earned runs in four innings, taking the loss in a 6-2 setback.

He pitched like a veteran against the team that beat Texas in the World Series, mixing a mid-90s fastball with breaking pitches that had the Giants lunging. Chris Stewart was so fooled while striking out in the sixth, he flung his bat into the stands behind home plate. No one was hurt, fortunately.

But Ross finally got to Delgado in the seventh. The right-hander threw three straight balls, managed a strike, then served up a 92 mph pitch that Ross launched deep into the left-field seats for his 10th homer.

"I was like, 'Wow, that was a bad pitch,'" Delgado said. "He made me pay."

As soon as Ross finished circling the bases, Gonzalez popped from the dugout to switch pitchers. Delgado threw 74 pitches and received a standing ovation as he walked slowly off the field.

NOTES: IF Miguel Tejada was supposed to do a rehab stint in the minors, but the injury situation forced the Giants to put him straight in the lineup at third base. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones batted sixth, the lowest he's hit in the Atlanta order since 1997. ... Jurrjens will be making his second career start against the Giants. He's 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his only other appearance. ... Matt Cain will get the nod for San Francisco in the series finale. He's 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five career starts vs. the Braves.