Young pitchers get nods for Braves, Giants

The San Francisco Giants pitching staff will get its chance to cool down the hot bat being swung by Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman when the two clubs begin a series on Monday.

The pitching matchup for the opener of four-game set in San Francisco features Atlanta rookie Mike Soroka (4-1, 0.98 ERA) against San Francisco left-hander Andrew Suarez, who is making his first appearance for the Giants this season.

The Braves are coming off a 4-2 homestand against St. Louis and Milwaukee and have won seven of their last nine. The Giants won the final two games of their three-game series at Arizona and have won four of their last six games entering a seven-game homestand.

Over the last 10 games, Freeman is batting .425 with a 1.302 OPS and has homered in a career-best four straight games. Freeman has 11 homers -- eight coming over his last 83 at-bats -- and hit the 200th of his career on Sunday, making him the ninth player in franchise history to reach the milestone.

"It just speaks volumes to who he is," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker told reporters. "He's one of the elite players in the league."

If Freeman gets three more doubles, he will reach 300 in his career. That will make him only the sixth player in Braves history to have 200 homers and 300 doubles, joining Hank Aaron, Andrew Jones, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy.

Soroka has been the team's best pitcher this season. He will be making his seventh start of the season. The rookie right-hander has not allowed more than two runs in any of his appearances. He beat the St. Louis Cardinals in his most recent start on seven scoreless innings that saw him scatter three hits and strike out three.

One of the few dings on Soroka's career came in 2018 against the Giants in his second major league game. San Francisco tagged him for four runs in four innings. He's allowed four runs in only one other start.

Soroka's early success comes despite the lack of offensive support. The Braves are averaging 2.8 runs in Soroka's appearances.

Suarez went 7-13 with a 4.49 ERA in 2018, but did not make the club in spring training and was assigned to Triple-A Sacramento. In six starts there, he was 2-3 with a 6.33 ERA, although he spent time there nursing a left hamstring strain that landed him on the injured list.

He made two career appearances against Atlanta last year, going 1-1 with a 2.38 ERA.

Veteran Giant Pablo Sandoval has a seven-game hitting streak and is 9-for-20 with four homers and seven RBIs during that span. He hit his third career pinch-hit homer on Sunday in a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"Amazing, it really is, what he's doing," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "With two strikes you don't expect good things to happen. That's how good he's been. It's really incredible what he's done off the bench, but also when he's playing. He's just playing unbelievable baseball."

--Field Level Media

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