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Bats go quiet after Freeman's HR in San Diego

Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Less than 24 hours after putting up 14 runs, the National League's top scoring team was stymied. The Braves' offense dried up in a 3-1 loss to the Padres in Wednesday's afternoon rubber game matinee at Petco Park.

"We just couldn't do anything offensively,'' manager Brian Snitker said.

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SAN DIEGO -- Less than 24 hours after putting up 14 runs, the National League's top scoring team was stymied. The Braves' offense dried up in a 3-1 loss to the Padres in Wednesday's afternoon rubber game matinee at Petco Park.

"We just couldn't do anything offensively,'' manager Brian Snitker said.

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For starters, the Braves had little success against San Diego's relievers. The Padres chose to forgo a traditional starter and instead leaned on their bullpen depth, rolling out a parade of relievers that combined to hold the Braves to just four hits.

"You can get someone different on almost every at-bat,'' Snitker said. "They got some good arms out there and they got some good arms coming from their Minor Leagues. But those guys that we saw today were tough.''

Another outstanding outing by Mike Foltynewicz (5-4) went by the wayside, as the Braves' most consistent starter was given scant support. Atlanta had the tying run in scoring position when Ozzie Albies opened the eighth with a slicing opposite-field double, his league-leading 19th on the year. But closer Brad Hand struck out Dansby Swanson looking on a borderline pitch on the outside part of the plate, then fanned Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis on defensive swings to strand Albies.

"That guy is tough, man,'' Snitker said. "I don't know how guys pick him up. It's like they don't see him real good. He gave up a leadoff double then struck the side out -- hats off to him. He did a great job.''

For the first time in five starts, Foltynewicz allowed more than one earned run -- he gave up two, along with five hits and three walks. He struck out eight, coming off his best outing of the season, in which he restricted the Nationals to two hits while recording a career-high-tying 11 strikeouts in his first shutout.

Video: ATL@SD: Foltynewicz fans Spangenberg, side in 5th

"I kind of stayed aggressive in the second inning, just left one bad slider over the plate, kind of gave a little spark for them and they put the ball in play when they needed to and did their job,'' Foltynewicz said. "Fastball command wasn't really there, slider kind of helped me to get through a few innings and some big situations. Overall, a little weird day, but definitely happy to keep their lead where it was.''

Foltynewicz said his view from the bench was that the Padres' pitching approach worked to perfection in keeping the Braves' batters off-kilter.

"They're not seeing guys two or three times through the order,'' Foltynewicz said. "You can't get a groove in a game like that when they're bringing in a bunch of good arms like that. Tip of the hat to them."

The Padres forged ahead, 2-1, in the second, with Cory Spangenberg's triple driving in Hunter Renfroe after he opened with a single. Manuel Margot's RBI single just escaped second baseman Albies' leaping attempt to plate another run.

Freeman, who reached base five times with four hits in Tuesday's win, attacked Matt Strahm early and blasted a 415-foot solo homer in the first inning, his 11th on the year. But the bats were silent thereafter.

"Definitely not normal,'' Freeman said of seeing a series of relievers. "You get into a rhythm and you know you're going to face someone at least two, three times. It kind of worked for them today, but as hitters it's tough to get into a groove.''

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Padres pushed two runs across in the second and were poised to score more with the bases loaded when Foltynewicz reached back for a well-placed slider against San Diego's most dangerous hitter. The right-hander fanned Eric Hosmer with an 91-mph inside pitch showing late action to keep the game close.

SOUND SMART
Catcher Tyler Flowers punctured reliever Kirby Yates' dream of completing an at-bat in the Majors. Margot attempted to steal second on the first pitch Yates ever saw and was thrown out by Flowers. Yates returned to pitch the seventh, but he was lifted for pinch-hitter Christian Villanueva in the inning's bottom half.

Video: ATL@SD: Flowers throws Margot out at second on steal

UP NEXT
Right-hander Brandon McCarthy (5-2) christens a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Friday, as he looks to equal his number of wins from last year. In McCarthy's most recent appearance at Chavez Ravine, he surrendered an 11th-inning homer to the Astros' George Springer as the Dodgers lost Game 2 of the 2017 World Series. L.A. has yet to announce its scheduled starter.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Atlanta Braves, Mike Foltynewicz, Freddie Freeman