SAN FRANCISCO -- Travis Ishikawa had a career day when he was supposed to be on the bench.
San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy decided late to go with Ishikawa at first base instead of rookie and recent callup Jesus Guzman, and for no reason in particular."I just made the flip," Bochy said.Ishikawa had a three-run homer among his career-high four hits, Jonathan Sanchez won for the first time in more than a month and the Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Monday.Ishikawa had yet to hit a home run this year, a rare thing for a first baseman. His bosses had brought up Guzman as insurance. Ishikawa very well could have been affected by all that."It's good to finally get that off my shoulders," he said of the homer. "My mindset's probably different than most people's because I'm not hitting a lot of home runs. Home runs are an overrated thing. ... I can't control the playing time. I'm still doing the same thing I've been doing all year."Edgar Renteria hit a two-run double three batters after Emmanuel Burriss broke up a scoreless game with a fifth-inning RBI single. The Giants, who had lost five of six and nine of 11, began a six-game homestand on a positive note following a frustrating 1-5 trip in which all the losses were by one run.This outing certainly was a boost for Sanchez (2-4), who went 0-3 over a six-start winless stretch since his last victory April 17. But he nearly saw this one get away after running into trouble in the sixth.Ishikawa's homer in the seventh was his first this season and fourth of his career. He scored on Burriss' single in the fifth off Javier Vazquez (4-4), whose wild pitch allowed Ishikawa to reach third after he stole second."Javy was going great. He didn't get hit very hard, really," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.Both Ishikawa and Fred Lewis beat throws home from the outfield in the sixth, Lewis making it on a close slide on Juan Uribe's shallow sacrifice fly to center.Sanchez allowed only one baserunner past first before Kelly Johnson's leadoff triple in the sixth, then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks. Brian McCann singled in Atlanta's first run to chase Sanchez with just the fourth hit by the Braves.Justin Miller relieved and struck out Jeff Francoeur before Casey Kotchman's bases-loaded walk made it 3-2. Miller then got Diory Hernandez to ground into a fielder's choice, with the Giants cutting down the runner at home, and struck out Jordan Schafer to end the inning."We had them and we didn't deliver," Cox said.Sanchez hasn't gone longer than 6 2/3 innings this season, and he did that in his other win. He got off to a fast start against the Braves, striking out the side in order in the first on 13 pitches. He finished with six Ks and three walks in five-plus innings. Sanchez tired after scoring from first in the fifth."That run got me a little bit," he said. "I was pumped up [from the start]. I had everything going on."The Braves completed a home interleague sweep of the Blue Jays before making the cross-country flight for Monday afternoon's game. Atlanta had its three-game winning streak snapped and lost for only the second time in its last seven.Vazquez faced one more than the minimum through three, allowing only a strange infield single to Ishikawa. Vazquez appeared to call for the high popup behind the pitcher's mound but collided with charging third baseman Martin Prado and the ball hit the ground.Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was held out of the starting lineup again with an injured right big toe he hurt Thursday night. But Cox doesn't expect the reigning NL batting champion to need a stint on the disabled list.
McCann had his second straight three-hit game. ... Ishikawa, hitless in his previous three games, is 9-for-18 with two homers lifetime vs. Atlanta. ... Burriss had been 1 for his last 15 with runners in scoring position. ... Braves SS Yunel Escobar, nursing a right hip flexor, missed his third straight start. ... Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval underwent an MRI exam on his injured right elbow that revealed a muscular strain. Sandoval said he felt better. He didn't play Monday and could pinch hit Tuesday or Wednesday and perhaps return to the lineup this weekend after Thursday's off day. "We got some good news with that," Bochy said. ... Vazquez doubled in the third, the 12th of his career.