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SF@STL: Vogelsong cruises through seven strong

The second game of the four-game series between the Giants and Braves will pit two pitchers who have struggled in their last two starts.

Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong has allowed 11 runs in 5 2/3 innings over his last two starts, adding more than half a run to his ERA. Vogelsong's struggles have been two of the rare blemishes for the Giants in the last two weeks. They have won nine of their last 12 games and increased their lead in the National League West to three games over the Dodgers with Thursday's 5-2 victory over the Braves.

Since Vogelsong's poor start Sunday, the Giants have gotten four stellar performances from the rest of their starters. They are 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in that stretch. Opponents are hitting .216 off them and have scored just four runs.

Vogelsong will hope to keep that going Friday and get over some bad luck that has stung him in his last two outings. The batting average on balls in play off Vogelsong in those games is .773, and of the 17 hits he's allowed, 15 have been singles. Sunday, he said the bad luck was out of his control.

"Once again, I can't control where the ball goes after it comes out of my hand," Vogelsong said. "When it's that many, it's a little frustrating. But that's part of the game. It happens."

Braves starter Ben Sheets has had struggles of a different sort recently. He also has allowed 11 runs in his last two starts, though he's pitched 12 innings in that time. In the Braves' 6-2 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, the only four hits Sheets gave up were home runs.

Sheets allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to the Dodgers, becoming the first pitcher to do so in five years. But he was most upset by a three-run home run that came after he walked a pair of batters with two outs in the sixth.

"The solo homers I can deal with," Sheets said. "I can pitch around those. You don't see people go back-to-back-to-back too often. But the two walks with two outs in the sixth inning [makes me mad], to be nice about it."

After giving up no home runs in the first 24 2/3 innings of his comeback, Sheets has given up six home runs in his last 19 1/3 innings. The Braves are 1-2 as Sheets has fought to keep the ball in the park.

Braves: Bourn, team struggling on road trip
The Braves have been a significantly better team when center fielder Michael Bourn plays well this season. When he has at least one hit and scores a run, the Braves are 45-15. In all other games they are 26-39.

With that kind of connection to success, it is no surprise the Braves have struggled as Bourn has slumped in the first four games of their 10-game road trip. Bourn is just 1-for-12 on the trip with one run and three walks.

In 125 games this season, Bourn is hitting .288 with 84 runs and 34 stolen bases.

• Third baseman Chipper Jones, who was honored with a pregame ceremony Thursday as he plays his last regular-season series in San Francisco, extended his hitting streak to eight games with a ninth-inning single off left-hander Barry Zito.

Jones is hitting .310 with 13 home runs this season. His hit Thursday night moved him into 63rd place on the all-time hits list with 2,705, six behind Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams.

Giants: After missing two games, Posey hopes to return Friday
Buster Posey, the Giants' All-Star catcher, has missed the last two games with a tight right hamstring. Posey is listed as day to day, and manager Bruce Bochy said it was a mostly precautionary decision to rest the 25-year-old again Thursday.

Posey, who is hitting .327 and leads the Giants with 19 home runs and a .403 on-base percentage, said he hopes to return to the lineup for the second game of San Francisco's series against Atlanta.

"I'm hoping," Posey said. "I don't see any reason why not."

• The Giants called up outfielder Francisco Peguero from Triple-A Fresno before Thursday's game against the Braves. Peguero takes the roster spot of outfielder Justin Christian, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain.

Peguero did not play in the Giants' 5-2 victory Thursday and will be making his Major League debut when he does get in a game. Peguero, 25, had a 22-game hitting streak and was hitting .272 this season at Fresno.

"He's a strong kid and he's a good outfielder with a good arm; he runs well," Bochy said. "He's been swinging the bat well. This is an easy one for us."

Worth noting
• Giants center fielder Angel Pagan carries a seven-game hitting streak into Friday's game. He is 14-for-30 (.467) with 10 runs and has a .515 on-base percentage during the streak.

• After a brief hot stretch in the Braves' last homestand, shortstop Paul Janish has gone into a slump on the road trip. Janish is in an 0-for-13 skid and has one hit in his last five games.

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