Giants target series win over visiting Braves

The San Francisco Giants breathed a sigh of relief when X- rays on the right wrist of slugger Pablo Sandoval were negative. The third baseman is expected to be in the lineup Sunday, as the Giants aim for a series win over the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a four-game set.

Sandoval was hit on the wrist by Braves starter Paul Maholm in the fifth inning of Saturday's 10-1 blowout. Sandoval remained in the game and was later replaced during a double-switch in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sandoval homered and scored twice in the win.

"He's going to be a little sore," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said on the club's website. "I'll check him out (Sunday) and see if he's available. I'm a little concerned, obviously, when you get hit there."

The bulky Sandoval is batting .315 with five homers and 25 RBI this season.

Gregor Blanco had a good day in the third test with Atlanta and went 2-for-2 with four RBI and a run scored, while Brandon Belt drove in two runs and starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner improved to 4-1 by striking out 11 and allowing one run in seven innings.

"He throws his cutter into righties and makes righties feel uneasy," Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson said of facing Bumgarner. "Then he throws his two- seamer away and his slider. His changeup was good. With a guy like that, you can't really do too much."

San Francisco was able to regain the top spot in the NL West and owns a one- game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost to Philadelphia Saturday night. The Giants have won three of four and nine of their last 12 games and will play their next six games on the road at Toronto and Colorado.

Giants starter Tim Lincecum hasn't won since April 20 and will try to end his current funk Sunday versus the Braves. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with a 5.68 earned run average in his last three starts and has been reached for five runs in each of his previous two.

Lincecum was dealt the loss in Tuesday's 6-2 score versus the Phillies and allowed five runs and nine hits over seven innings, falling to 2-2 in seven outings with a 4.75 ERA.

"He was really good at times; other times he made some mistakes," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had good stuff tonight but had trouble commanding the fastball at times."

The right-hander has made 11 career starts against Atlanta and is 6-5 with a 3.28 ERA in that time.

Atlanta, which is a game ahead of Washington for the NL East lead, has experienced some difficulties on this 10-game road trip (3-3) and looks for a series split this afternoon. Maholm put his team in a hole by allowing six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings to suffer the loss. Reliever Anthony Varvaro surrendered three runs.

"I didn't make a few pitches and we didn't make a few plays," Maholm said. "We weren't able to get anything on the board. They played better today."

Maholm had the lone RBI with a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and Evan Gattis finished with two hits for Atlanta, which has lost two straight since winning four of five and will visit the D'backs for three games on the trek.

Braves starter Kris Medlen was in line for a win his last time out, but the bullpen blew that opportunity. Medlen looks to get the job done himself Sunday and pitched well in Tuesday's 5-4 loss at Cincinnati. Medlen allowed just two runs in seven innings, but closer Craig Kimbrel gave up back-to-back two-out solo home runs to Devin Mesoraco and Shin-Soo Choo in the ninth.

Medlen, who entered the night on a personal three-game slide, did not record a decision and is 1-4 with a 3.25 ERA in seven starts. The right-hander, who went 10-1 a season ago, is 1-2 in four road starts and 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six career games (1 start) against San Francisco.

The Giants, who have outscored the Braves by an 18-3 margin the last two games, split a four-game series with Atlanta at home last season.