Six days after facing the Atlanta Braves for the first time in his career, San Francisco Giants hurler Ryan Vogelsong joined the rotation and went on to become one of baseball's best stories last season.
In the midst of another solid campaign, Vogelsong faces off against the Braves tonight in the continuation of a three-game series in Atlanta.
Out of the majors since 2006, Vogelsong signed a minor league contract with the Giants prior to last season and joined the big-league club when Barry Zito was injured. He made two relief appearances, including a 3 1/3-scoreless frame effort versus the Braves on April 22, and then became a starter for the first time since 2004.
The right-hander ended up making the All-Star team and when all was said and done, Vogelsong went 13-7 with a 2.71 earned run average in 30 total appearances.
Set to turn 35 on Sunday, Vogelsong is 7-4 with a 2.36 ERA through 16 starts this season, including 13 quality starts. He has pitched at least seven innings in eight straight appearances, but did take the loss last time out on July 7 in Pittsburgh. Vogelsong was charged with three runs over seven innings on a season high-tying eight hits.
He'll look to get back into the win column tonight and lead the Giants to a fifth straight win after they took last night's opener 9-0.
Zito threw seven shutout innings and Buster Posey drove in a season-high five runs with three hits. Zito also helped himself out at the plate with an RBI and moved to 4-0 in five career starts at Turner Field, though he called the stat "coincidental."
"Sometimes you feel good and you end up at the same park a lot," Zito said. "I don't think there's a whole lot to it. It's a fun place to pitch. Just a real nice yard. They got a great lineup and you can't take them lightly."
San Francisco won for just the fourth time in its last 13 trips to Atlanta, but did pad its lead over the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West to three games.
The only drawback appeared to be a sprained left knee suffered by catcher Hector Sanchez. He is listed as day-to-day and is hoping to avoid a trip to the disabled list.
The Braves had a seven-game winning streak snapped and it cost them a game in the NL East. Atlanta dipped to three games back of the first-place Washington Nationals with only its second loss in its past 10 versus San Francisco.
Jair Jurrjens was charged with eight runs, including six in the fourth, on eight hits and three walks, needing 73 pitches to get through 3 1/3 frames for the Braves.
"Since the first hitter you could see they had my command," said Jurrjens. "They're a good team. I made a lot of bad pitches and they got hits on them."
Atlanta hopes that Mike Minor can keep his recent string of success going tonight and even this series with a third straight win.
Minor picked up his most recent win on July 5 versus the Cubs, turning in his longest outing in four starts. The lefty carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning and was eventually charged with three runs -- two earned -- on three hits and a pair of walks in 6 1/3 innings.
"I just tried to throw strikes," said Minor about his offense providing him with a five-run cushion. "It was more just trying to go after hitters and I think I was overthrowing."
The 24-year-old moved to 5-6 with a 5.97 ERA in 16 starts and will face the Giants for the second time in his career. He won the first matchup, hurling six scoreless frames of four-hit ball and fanning nine on Aug. 18 in Atlanta.