Braves fall to Giants for fourth loss in five games

AP photo by Godofredo A. Vásquez / Atlanta Braves starter Charlie Morton pitches against the host San Francisco Giants on Wednesday afternoon.

SAN FRANCISCO — After struggling to get above .500 for much of the first two months of the season, the Atlanta Braves rewarded manager Brian Snitker's patience by turning into MLB's hottest teams to cut down the New York Mets' double-digit lead in the National League East standings.

With less than 20 games left, though, the Braves have hit a rough patch — and Snitker knows they need to steer out of it quickly if they want to secure a fifth straight division title.

"You're trying to win every game," said Snitker, whose team began the day a half-game behind the Mets. "Every game is big. They all mean a lot now."

Carlos Rodón struck out eight batters in five dominant innings Wednesday afternoon before leaving with a blister as the San Francisco Giants won 4-1 and slowed down the Braves, who dropped two of three games at Oracle Park.