Darvish makes history in blowout 9-1 Padres win over Braves

Credit: USA Today Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Following a Friday win against ace Max Fried to open the four-game series in Atlanta, the Padres and Braves took an unscheduled off day due to a rainout.

While the rain subsided, the Padres offense poured on Atlanta with 14 hits en route to a blowout 9-1 win Sunday to take the first two of the series.

For Padres skipper Mike Shildt, the red-hot Yu Darvish took the start in game two a day later than expected. Since returning from the 15-day injured list with neck tightness, Darvish had tossed an astounding 17 consecutive scoreless innings entering the outing.

“He picked us up when he first came back,” Shildt said of the hurler’s dominance since his return from the shelf. “When we have our big boys pitching well, that’s a great indicator for our team success.

The “big boy” continued his excellence, pitching seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts to lower his season ERA to 2.08 and extend his scoreless innings streak to 25, the most ever by a Japanese-born pitcher.

With the pitching win, the right-hander reached a monumental milestone; Darvish became the third pitcher ever (Hideo Nomo, 203 and Hiroki Kuroda, 201) to reach 200 professional wins between the NPB and MLB.

For Braves manager Brian Snitker, Bryce Elder took to the hill with a 4.79 ERA over 20.2 frames. The right-hander has struggled to limit baserunners, averaging over 1.6 baserunners per inning (1.645 WHIP) on the season.

Elder’s struggles limiting traffic continued from the beginning of the night, as San Diego forced him to throw 41 pitches in the top of the first inning with a two-out rally that scored three.

First, Jake Cronenworth launched a 392-foot home run into the Chop House in right field. Then, after back-to-back base hits, Jackson Merrill, who sports a batting average over .400 on the road, ripped a single to right and scored Manny Machado to give the Friars a 3-0 advantage.

The Padres extended their lead in the top of the fourth inning. Fernando Tatis Jr. poked a 348-foot double the other way off the right field wall that scored Ha-Seong Kim and Luis Arráez. Jurickson Profar followed with a double of his own to plate Tatis Jr.

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At Elder’s departure, the Padres notched nine hits and tagged the hurler for six earned runs in 3+ IP.

Former Padre Ray Kerr was first out of the bullpen for Atlanta. Xander Bogaerts greeted the southpaw with a sacrifice fly to deep left field to make it a 7-0 game.

Luis Campusano continued the rough reunion with Kerr in the fifth inning and rocketed a 109-MPH solo home run with a hang time below four seconds.

Later in the seventh inning, Kerr hung a changeup, which Kim deposited into the second row of the left field bleachers for another Padres run. His sixth round-tripper of the season gave the Padres a 9-0 lead. 

Atlanta avoided the shutout in the ninth but all the momentum remains with the brown and gold entering the final two games of the series. The Padres will play a doubleheader on Monday (5/20) with the goal of making a statement and sweeping the Braves.

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