San Francisco (51-40) leads the West by three games over second-place Los Angeles after winning five in a row, including the first two games of this series.
The Giants won 9-4 in 11 innings Wednesday, putting themselves one victory from their first sweep in Atlanta (49-41) since June 27-29, 1988.
Their success in this three-game set is damaging the Braves' position in the East standings. They'd moved within 2 1/2 games of division-leading Washington after entering this series with a seven-game winning streak, but they're now 4 1/2 back. Atlanta will visit the nation's capital for a four-game set starting Friday.
Bumgarner (11-5, 3.15 ERA) will try to help San Francisco compound Atlanta's woes and complete the sweep by building on one of his best performances of the season.
The left-hander allowed one run and two hits in seven innings of a 5-1 win over Houston on Friday, improving to 6-1 with a 3.18 ERA in his last eight starts.
He's made an adjustment to his curveball with the help of fellow southpaw Jeremy Affeldt , according to the Giants' official website.
"I actually was just watching and talking to Affeldt, he has a really good curveball," Bumgarner told the website. "We've been working on some stuff, and I made a little adjustment, and it made it a whole lot better."
Bumgarner is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta.
Jones will try to help the Braves solve Bumgarner again, after going 1 for 2 with an RBI double in his only meeting against him April 22, 2011.
Another similar effort would put the probable future Hall of Famer in the record books. With a solo homer Wednesday Jones drove in his 1,596th career run, tying George Brett for the most RBIs by a player whose primary position was third base.
Jones is hitting .355 with eight RBIs in his last nine games versus the Giants.
The Braves will give the ball to Tim Hudson (7-4, 3.80), who hasn't lost to the Giants since April 8, 2006. The right-hander is 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in seven meetings since, including three wins in four games at Turner Field.
The right-hander, though, is 3-3 with a 5.40 ERA in eight home starts this year.
He's struggled greatly over his last two outings in Atlanta, losing his only decision and surrendering 10 runs in 10 innings. Hudson cruised through the first three innings Friday, but was pulled after surrendering four runs in the fourth of Atlanta's 7-5 win over New York.
"I just didn't make very good pitches," Hudson told the Braves' official website. "I was a little out of sorts out there."
San Francisco catcher Buster Posey is 12 for 21 with nine RBIs in his last six games after getting three hits in each of the last three. However, he could rest in this day game after a night game.
"At some point he's going to need a day off," manager Bruce Bochy said.
|San Francisco Giants|
|July 18, 2012||Hector Sanchez||15-Day DL||Left knee strain|
|July 17, 2012||Hector Sanchez||Day-to-Day||Left knee sprain|
|June 26, 2012||Shane Loux||15-Day DL||Strained neck|
|June 14, 2012||Aubrey Huff||Day-to-Day||Sprained right knee|
|June 11, 2012||Aubrey Huff||15-Day DL||Sprained right knee|
|June 07, 2012||Melky Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right hamstring|
|July 14, 2012||Jack Wilson||15-Day DL||Dislocated right pinkie finger|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 09, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||15-Day DL||Broken right pinkie finger|
|July 08, 2012||Andrelton Simmons||Day-to-Day||Broken right pinkie|
|July 05, 2012||Jonny Venters||15-Day DL||Left elbow impingement|
|June 17, 2012||Brandon Beachy||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
ATLANTA (AP) -- Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves' win against San Francisco on Thursday could prove to be their biggest of the season.
Atlanta's manager was obviously pleased the Braves avoided being swept by the Giants, but he was particularly encouraged by the way his team bounced back and regained some momentum after a tough loss.
Freddie Freeman and David Ross hit home runs in Thursday's 3-2 victory over the Giants. The Braves fell apart late in Wednesday night's 9-4 loss in 11 innings to San Francisco, but now head to Washington on a positive note for a four-game series against the NL East-leading Nationals.
"You lose two in a row after winning seven and it feels like you'll never win again," the Braves manager said, referring to the team's season-best winning streak that ended with two losses to the Giants.
"Big win," Gonzalez said. "It really is a big win after losing that game last night in extra innings and not leaving here until almost 2 in the morning. Coming back on short rest is really huge and could be the biggest win for us this year, depending on how that weekend (at Washington) goes."
The Braves began the day second in the NL East, 4 1/2 games behind the Nationals.
Tim Hudson (8-4) helped an Atlanta bullpen that was drained by Wednesday night's loss. He gave up eight hits and two runs in 7 1-3 innings to outpitch Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner .
Freeman hit his 13th homer in the second. Michael Bourn 's run-scoring triple in the third gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead.
Ross pushed the lead to 3-1 with his homer in the fourth. The Braves didn't manage another hit.
"Obviously we made those three hits count," Hudson said.
The Giants were denied their first sweep at Turner Field. They haven't swept a series of at least three games in Atlanta since 1988 at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
The NL West-leading Giants' five-game winning streak ended with their first loss since the All-Star break. They began the day a season-best three games ahead of the second-place Dodgers and settled for winning two of three against the Braves.
"You take it," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy . "That's what you try to do, take series. It's hard to do.
"Sure, it's a tough loss, with the pitching we had. But you take it."
Bumgarner and Clay Hensley held the Braves to three hits, none after the fourth inning.
The Giants had nine hits but stranded eight baserunners.
"We couldn't get a timely hit," Bochy said. "That was the difference in the game."
Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth inning for his NL-leading 28th save.
Hudson has pitched at least six innings in 11 of his 15 starts.
"It was a lot of fun catching him," Ross said. "He's our horse and we need him pitching well."
Bumgarner couldn't extend his streak of wins in seven straight decisions. Bumgarner (11-6) gave up only three hits but allowed three runs, two earned, in seven innings. He had eight strikeouts and no walks in his first loss since May 26. He fell to 4-5 away from San Francisco.
"I didn't give up a lot of hits today so I felt good," Bumgarner said. "The homers killed me."
Freeman's 13th homer gave him a 10-game hitting streak.
"Freddie's homer I thought was much bigger than mine," Ross said. "Coming off last night, it was nice to get the momentum back early in the game."
The Braves scored an unearned run off Bumgarner in the third when Paul Janish reached on third baseman Pablo Sandoval 's fielding error and scored on Bourn's triple.
Sandoval led off the second with a single and scored on a single by Emmanuel Burris. The Giants didn't score another run until the eighth when Melky Cabrera tripled and scored on Buster Posey 's flyball to center, cutting Atlanta's lead to 3-2.
Notes: Giants SS Brandon Crawford , who fouled a ball off his right knee before hitting a go-ahead, three-run homer in the 11th inning on Wednesday night, was 0-for-4. He said the knee is fine. ... The Braves are listing Ben Sheets as the starting pitcher in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at Washington. Randall Delgado will be recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to start the second game. ... The Braves open the series against the Nationals on Friday night when Tommy Hanson faces Stephen Strasburg in a matchup of 10-game winners. ... The Giants open a series at Philadelphia on Friday night with Tim Lincecum , only 3-10, facing Vance Worley .