Padres Bats Break Out as San Diego Splits Series with Atlanta Braves

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo

Atlanta, Georgia-

On Thursday the Padres had an opportunity to even the four-game series against the Atlanta Braves and head home on a winning note.  The team faced Mike Foltynewicz, who was making only his second start of the season because of a bone spur affecting his left elbow.  The night before the Padres lost 5-1 having scored only one run on a homer by Manny MachadoMatt Strahm started and finally got his first win.

In the first inning, both teams went three up three down.  In the second, Wil Myers (who came into the game with 41 strikeouts already this season) whiffed again with Ty France (who had been hit by a pitch) on first.  In the bottom of the second, Strahm gave up the first hit of the game to Johan Camargo but got out of the inning.

In the top of the third and his second time through the lineup, Foltynewicz’ gave up a solo home run Ian Kinsler with two outs. Franmil Reyes’ followed with a single, but Manny Machado popped out to end the mini-rally.  In the bottom of the inning, Ozzie Albies singled off the glove of Eric Hosmer, but Strahm got Dansby Swanson to ground out to shortstop Machado to end the threat.

In the top of the fifth, Austin Hedges surprised just about everyone by bunting for a single.  Strahm moved him to second with another bunt, Kinsler doubled, and Hedges scored the second run of the game.  A bad throw to second by the pitcher scored Kinsler.  At that point, the Braves starter had a pitch count over 70 and climbing.  By the time the dust settled, the Padres had scored five runs, none as a result of a home run, a welcome change from their homer-centric scoring of late.

In the bottom of the fifth, Strahm had the difficult task of keeping the Braves off the board after sitting through the lengthy top of the inning.   After two strikeouts, the next two Braves’ hitters reached base.  But Strahm answered with a ground out and got through the fifth having thrown only 59 pitches.

By the top of the sixth, the Padres had gotten into the shaky Braves’ bullpen.  With Shane Carle (5.40 ERA) pitching, Strahm lined out, but Kinsler doubled for his third extra-base hit of the day (all on off-speed pitches).  Reyes struck out, but Machado doubled to for his first hit of the day. Hosmer singled, Machado scored, and the game reached laugher territory at 8-0. But the line kept moving with a triple by Ty France which scored Hosmer scored from first. Myers poured it on with a two-run homer, and the Padres led the Braves 11-0

After another long stretch on the bench, Strahm started the bottom of sixth with singles by Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman, and Ronald Acuna Jr. singles.  The first tomahawk chop (which should have been retired many years ago) of the afternoon broke out.  With the bases loaded and no outs, Markakis singled, driving in two runs and ending the shutout.  After a mound visit by pitching coach Darren Balsley, Camargo popped to third for first out. A lineout by Flowers and unassisted double play by Kinsler got Strahm off the hook and ended his day.

With Jerry Blevins taking over on the mound for Atlanta, Hunter Renfroe struck out first at-bat of the seventh inning, Kinsler flew out, and Reyes struck out.  Having given up three hits and three runs in his last outing, reliever Luis Perdomo started the bottom of the seventh and went three up, three down.  In Perdomo’s second inning he gave up one walk but kept the Braves at two runs.

In the top of the ninth, the Padres loaded the bases, but Francisco Mejia pinch hit and ended the inning with a flyout.  In the bottom of ninth with the score 11-2, Garcia took over at short, and Matt Wisler gave up two hits, but got out of the jam.  Matt Strahm finally got into the win column having pitched well in every start but his first.

Padres pitchers allowed just two runs on 10 hits, and the bats came alive with 17 hits and 11 runs in an important win as the Los Angeles Dodgers come to San Diego tomorrow.  After the game, Andy Green said the victory revealed the team’s resilience in a successful 4-3 road trip.

2 thoughts on “Padres Bats Break Out as San Diego Splits Series with Atlanta Braves

  1. The answer to their offensive woes has been right in front of them all along: Play before noon! What is the split in runs per game that start at 9am PST and all other start times?

    1. You make an excellent observation about Kinsler. Some vets when they can no longer hit the heat, sit on off speed stuff and try to kill that.

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