» BRAVES PARTY AFTER ROUT OF GIANTS
ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves arrived at SunTrust Park on Friday with the expectation there would be a postgame party.
The San Francisco Giants appeared to do everything in their power to ensure the celebration would go on.
Braves players had ski goggles tucked away in lockers and clubhouse attendants had champagne on ice. All Atlanta needed to do was beat the Giants to clinch the National League East.
The Giants didn't exactly make things challenging.
Braves center fielder Ronald Acuna, Jr. started the festivities in the first inning and didn't ease up as Atlanta blanked San Francisco, 6-0, to secure its second consecutive division title.
The defeat marked the 80th of the year for the Giants, who are on their way to their third consecutive losing season. After keeping local champagne distributors in business during the first half of the decade, the Giants have spent the last few seasons watching opponents experience the cold, chilling satisfaction of victory.
Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz tossed eight shutout innings against an overmatched lineup as rookie right fielder Mike Yastrzemski was the only Giants player who caused any trouble. Yastrzemski went 3 for 3 against the Atlanta right-hander while the rest of the Giants' lineup combined to finish 0 for 21.
It was only five years ago when the Giants were at the top of the baseball world, having won three World Series in five seasons. The franchise's golden years exceeded the wildest dreams of even the most optimistic of their fans, but the barren seasons that have followed have tested the patience of their long-time supporters.
It didn't take a blowout loss to see why the Giants are not able to contend with teams such as the Braves, but Friday's game certainly didn't inspire much hope.
Giants starter Tyler Beede had shown recent signs that he was turning a corner at the end of a challenging rookie season, but Beede surrendered six runs in six innings and had no answer for Acuna on Friday.
The Braves superstar went 2 for 2 with a walk against Beede and made the most of his atbats. Acuna lined a double into the left-field corner in his second plate appearance and then broke the game open with a tworun blast into the right-field seats in the bottom of the fifth.
Acuna, 21, is younger than each of the 40 players on the Giants' 40-man roster, but he's already among the most talented players in the league filled with young stars.
As the Giants' season comes to a close, it's games against players such as Acuna and Atlanta's 22-year-old second baseman, Ozzie Albies, that serve as a reminder of the talent that's been missing from San Francisco's farm system in recent seasons.