Giants shed early lead, Braves take Game 2

You know it just couldn’t be easy.

Mirroring the team’s roller coaster regular season, the Giants are doing things the hard way in the playoffs.

With their disappointing loss — has there been any other kind this year? — against the Braves on Friday night, the Giants will have to win at least one game in Atlanta to keep their season alive.

Friday’s playoff loss seemed to be particularly cruel, as the Giants blew a four-run lead and squandered a golden opportunity in the bottom of the 10th inning, before eventually losing on Rick Ankiel’s sole home run in the top of the 11th inning. The National League Division Series is now tied at one game apiece.

Pat Burrell had staked the Giants to an early lead with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, and San Francisco tacked on another run in the second to go up 4-0. With Matt Cain cruising on the mound, the team appeared well on their way to taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

However, the gritty Braves chipped away at the lead, getting a run off Cain in top of the sixth inning, and three runs in the top of the seventh off Giants closers Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson. Alex Gonzalez delivered a key two-run double off Wilson in the inning to tie the score at four.

The Giants loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 10th, but couldn’t come through.

Edgar Renteria started the rally with a inning-opening bunt single, and was quickly moved to second on Andres Torres sacrifice bunt. Freddy Sanchez got beaned on the hand from a pitch by Braves reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who followed that up by walking Aubrey Huff to load the bases.

Giants catcher Buster Posey came on with a chance to ice the game and send the Giants  to Atlanta with a 2-0 series lead, but Farnsworth got the star rookie to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Ankiel’s home run in the 11th finalized the Giants’ misery.

The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Sunday, when the Braves will put their ace, Tim Hudson, on the mound. The Giants will counter with left-hander Jonathan Sanchez, who came up big in the team’s regular-season finale against the Padres.

“That is a tough loss, no getting around it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “But you have to bounce back, because that’s part of the game.”

Once again, we have to say this — Giants Baseball: Torture.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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