Wacha dominant in Padres 4-1 victory over Braves


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Credit: AP Photo

When the Padres inked a four-year, $26 million contract with Michael Wacha in February, they aimed to get a reliable arm to bolster the back end of a rotation that faded off at the end of the 2022 season. They may have struck gold with Wacha.

The right-hander was absolutely dominant on Saturday night, recording 10 straight outs to start the game. He allowed a double to Matt Olson in the fourth inning but quickly recovered.

Wacha ended up pitching six shutout innings on 95 pitches for the Padres, allowing just two hits and a walk while tying his career high with ten strikeouts as the Padres improved to 5-4 on the season.

After consecutive outings where Padres starters failed to get through the fifth inning, Manager Bob Melvin was relieved to see Wacha do so well.

“With what Wacha did today, he really showed us what he’s made of and why we signed him,” Melvin said.

The 31-year-old is off to another excellent season, with consecutive wins. Wacha was 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA in 23 starts last year for the Boston Red Sox. “He had every pitch working today, really good command of his fastball. He had a good cutter, a good curveball. That changeup is always there for him,” Melvin said.

With the victory, Wacha now has win over every single team in the National League in his career. The Padres loaded the bases in the top half of the first but failed to capitalize after Matt Carpenter grounded into a double play to end the inning. Juan Soto got the Padres on the board first in the third inning with a no-doubt home run over the right-centerfield wall (428 feet).

The left fielder is now 6-for-8 with two home runs and five walks in his career against Braves starter Charlie Morton. “I know {Morton’s} got great pitches; I just try to stay in the strike zone and make contact,” Soto said.

In the fourth inning, the Padres extended its lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs via error. A third run in the inning was taken off after Rougned Odor failed to touch home plate. The Padres got a scoreless inning from Steven Wilson in the seventh inning, stranding a runner.

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Pitching in the eighth inning for the second straight night, Luis Garcia allowed a two-out RBI single to Matt Olson, cutting the lead to 3-1. The hit marked Olson’s third of the night.

The Padres tacked on an insurance run in the top half of the ninth inning after a wild pitch to take a 4-1 lead. Melvin called on closer Josh Hader again in the bottom half, and the three-time Reliever of the Year delivered, picking up his third save of the season. After allowing a walk and a bloop single to open the inning, Hader struck out the next three batters.

The Padres look to take a series victory with a win tomorrow at 4:10 PT before heading to New York for a three-game series against the Mets.

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