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HOU@SF: Bumgarner makes a nice play to end the frame

The Giants' rotation has been on a roll ever since Madison Bumgarner kicked off the second half, and he'll be tasked with keeping it going in the Giants-Braves series finale Thursday.

Bumgarner returned from the All-Star break with a two-hitter, holding the Astros to one run in seven innings. Since the All-Star break, Giants starters have posted a 0.78 ERA, including only one run allowed in 13 innings against the Braves in the series so far.

The teams take the field Thursday with a sweep on the line after the Giants won both Tuesday and Wednesday's games.

The Giants had entered the series with a road ERA of 4.85, which was considerably higher than their 2.31 ERA at home. Barry Zito (seven shutout innings Tuesday) and Ryan Vogelsong (one run in six innings) reversed the trend so far in the series, and Bumgarner will be looking to join in their success. He has been considerably more dominant at home, where he is 7-1 with a 1.81 ERA compared to 4-4 with a 4.43 ERA on the road.

"He got us deep into the game, which is what we wanted, and he's had quite the half," manager Bruce Bochy said after Bumgarner's last start. "For 22 years old, it's pretty incredible what he does, the poise he has out there."

Bumgarner's Braves counterpart will be Tim Hudson, who turned 37 earlier this week. Hudson has been his usual consistent self this season, going 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA, though he is coming off his shortest outing of the season. He started the Braves' second half by getting pulled with two runners on and no outs in the fourth inning against the Mets on July 13, allowing four runs on eight hits in the Braves' eventual 7-5 win.

"I just didn't make very good pitches," he said. "I was a little out of sorts out there. I made some pretty good pitches at times, but especially when I was ahead in the count with some guys, I left some pitches over the plate and they got some base hits. It seemed like when I did make a couple of decent pitches, they put a good swing on it."

Hudson is 6-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 15 career starts against the Giants.

Braves: Venters readying for rehab assignment
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said left-hander Jonny Venters could be ready to head to Triple-A Gwinett to start a rehab assignment as soon as Friday. If he does, he would pitch Friday and Sunday before rejoining the Braves in Miami on Tuesday. Venters was placed on the disabled July 5 with a left elbow impingement.

• Chipper Jones was out of the starting lineup for Wednesday's game after telling Gonzalez that he was sore. Jones went 0-for-3 Tuesday after a seven-game stretch in which he went 13-for-28 (.464) with three doubles, a homer and five RBIs. He entered Wednesday's game as a pinch-hitter, stayed in to play third base and homered in the 11th to tie George Brett's Major League record for RBIs by a player who primarily played third base.

Giants: Whiteside called up for Sanchez
After backup catcher Hector Sanchez sprained his left knee in Tuesday's game against the Braves, the Giants placed Sanchez on the 15-day disabled list and called up Eli Whiteside from Triple-A Fresno.

Whiteside played for the Giants in the previous three years, hitting .233 in 187 games and was batting .241 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 47 games for Fresno this season.

The Giants had initially hoped Sanchez would only be sidelined for a few games, but an MRI on Wednesday morning showed he may be out longer, sending him to the DL.

"It's a tough call, because you don't know when Hector will be ready," Bochy said.

Worth noting
• Buster Posey has hit .571 (12-for-21) with 11 RBIs since the All-Star break, including 6-for-9 with seven RBIs in the last two games against the Braves.

• The Braves are 39-21 against the Giants at Turner Field heading into the final game of the three-game series. Comments