If the Braves and Giants do meet again in the playoffs for a second straight season, Atlanta may go into that set with the mental edge.
Atlanta, which is expected to get starter Jair Jurrjens back on the hill tonight, aims to best hobbled San Francisco for a sixth straight time this season in the third contest of a four-game series at Turner Field.
Jurrjens is set to make his first start since Aug. 1 and said he is feeling recharged thanks to the time off. That is a good thing given his struggles as of late.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 6.26 earned run average in four starts since the All-Star break and is returning from a disabled list stint caused by a right knee strain. He gave up five runs over five innings in loss to the Nationals last time out, falling to 12-4 with a 2.63 ERA in 20 starts this year.
His ERA stood at 1.87 before the break, but the 25-year-old said the time off has done him some good.
"This is the best I've felt this year," Jurrjens told Atlanta's website. "You can see the 15 days was a good idea. We didn't want to do it, but sometimes you need to be smart and not let the leg be a big thing."
The righty is 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 10 starts at home this year and hasn't lost at Turner Field since June 14. He is 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA lifetime against the Giants.
The Braves have won each of their last seven regular-season encounters with the Giants, including a three-game sweep in San Francisco back on April 22-24, as they attempt to wash away the sting of last season's defeat at the hands of the Giants in the National League Division Series. Atlanta has opened this set with consecutive walk-off wins, getting three runs off San Francisco closer Brian Wilson in Monday's opener before securing a 2-1 victory last night on Martin Prado's run-scoring single in the 11th inning.
Brooks Conrad scored the game-winning run after he doubled and moved to third on a groundout as Atlanta picked up its major-league leading 22nd victory in its final at-bat and ninth in its past 12 games overall.
"Every single day it's a new guy, a new teammate. Just show up and do a little thing to win the game. Today was my time," Prado said.
Atlanta's Randall Delgado was the story of the game through the first six innings as he faced the minimum 18 batters and allowed only one base runner -- a one-out walk to Mike Fontenot in the fourth inning -- before Cody Ross began the seventh inning with a home run to spoil Delgado's no-hit bid and end his night.
In losing for the 13th time in 18 games, the Giants have fallen 3 1/2 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks in the National League West, the largest deficit for the defending champions since trailing by four games on May 5. San Francisco also trails wild-card leading Atlanta by six games.
Carlos Beltran missed his eighth game in a row because of a strained right hand and was placed on the disabled list before the game along with reliever Sergio Romo. Jeff Keppinger (right wrist), Aaron Rowand (left intercostal muscle) and Nate Schierholtz (right foot) are all battling injury as well, and starter Jonathan Sanchez had to exit last night's game in the third inning with a left ankle sprain.
"We've just got to keep playing the game and not worry about the injuries," Sanchez said.
Instead, the Giants will try to get Matt Cain on track as he tries to avoid losing four straight starts for the first time since 2007.
Cain has given up only three earned runs over his past two appearances, but has suffered consecutive 2-1 losses. The right-hander's latest defeat came in Florida in Friday as he allowed two runs in the opening frame but nothing else over a six-inning outing. Cain has allowed two earned runs or less in 10 of his past 14 starts, giving up just one homer in that span, but fell to 9-9 with a 3.00 ERA this season.
He hasn't lost four straight starts since June 10-27, 2007.
The 26-year-old is 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in five regular-season starts versus the Braves and will face them for the first time since Game 2 of last year's NLDS when he allowed one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings of a 5-4 loss.