Shields, Upton Jr. help Padres rout Braves
SAN DIEGO -- James Shields tossed six scoreless innings Tuesday night and Melvin Upton Jr. tormented his former team with two home runs as the Padres rolled over the Braves, 9-0, at Petco Park.
Upton Jr. had an RBI single, a two-run home run as part of a five-run sixth inning and then added a two-run home run in the seventh inning. He wasn't even in the original lineup but was inserted into center field after Will Venable was traded to the Rangers before the game.
"That was a breakout performance," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy. "It was great to see. He's put together some good at-bats lately."
Atlanta starting pitcher Matt Wisler, pitching against his former organization, allowed two runs on six hits in five innings. He was dealt to the Braves on the eve of Opening Day in the deal that landed closer Craig Kimbrel and Upton Jr. in San Diego.
"It happens all the time, [Cameron Maybin] is doing it to them," Gonzalez said in reference to his center fielder who was in that same deal. "It's just one of those things. I think it's the baseball gods. [Dan Uggla] hit one out against us earlier in the year. [Upton Jr.] put two good swings on those pitches and got two home runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Two on the ground: Shields found himself in trouble in the fourth inning, loading the bases with no outs. But he struck out Joey Terdoslavich and got Andrelton Simmons to hit into an inning ending, 6-4-3 double play. He got a double-play ball to end his sixth inning, too. Shields allowed five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts and won for the second time since June 3.
"That's a momentum-changer," Murphy said of the double plays. More >
Shaky start: After needing 46 pitches to complete the first two innings in scoreless fashion, Wisler was damaged by Cory Spangenberg's triple and Matt Kemp's sacrifice fly in the third inning. The highly regarded rookie battled some nerves, as was evidenced by a balk he committed during the second inning. His early exit was influenced by his pitch count (85), but it was primarily a precautionary measure taken after he was hit in the right triceps by Shields' line drive comebacker in the fifth inning. It appears he simply suffered a bruise that will not prevent him from making his next start.
"I need to work on being more efficient, attacking guys early in the count and getting ahead," said Wisler, who has lasted five innings or fewer in each of his past five starts. "I haven't done that as well as I should have lately."
BroBI: Upton Jr. gave the Padres a 2-0 lead with an RBI single in the fourth inning. He then helped put the game away with a monster home run to left-center field, one that scored his younger brother, Justin, ahead of him. The five RBIs are the most for Upton Jr. since Sept. 3, 2011, when he played for the Rays.
"When I play, I am in there and grinding, and when I am not, I am doing the same. I haven't swung the bat the way I have particularly wanted to, but I don't feel like my at-bats have been completely terrible at the same time," Upton Jr. said. More >
That escalated quickly: The Padres had one on and two outs before Upton Jr.'s homer off David Aardsma accounted for the first runs scored during the sixth-inning eruption. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's hope to get a couple innings out of Ross Detwiler evaporated as the southpaw surrendered Yangervis Solarte's long three-run blast and did not retire any of the five batters he faced.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Justin Upton has hit a home run four times with his brother Melvin on base in the brothers' careers. However, Upton Jr.'s homer in the sixth inning finally returned the favor to his sibling, making it his first home run while Justin was on base.
The Braves have lost nine straight games at Petco Park. Their last win in San Diego was a 2-0 victory claimed on Aug. 28, 2012. Kris Medlen concluded his eight scoreless innings that day by striking out current Padres hitting coach Mark Kotsay.
With two-outs in the second inning, a Crew Chief review occurred to determine whether the umpire had the pitch count incorrect when awarding Shields a walk when he was at-bat. After the review, the call was overturned and Shields stood back in the batter's box and lined out to center on a 3-2 pitch.
Braves: Julio Teheran will attempt to halt his road woes when Atlanta and San Diego conclude the three-game series on Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. ET. Teheran has produced a 2.44 ERA in 12 home starts and a 6.75 ERA in 12 road starts. .
Padres: Tyson Ross will take the mound for San Diego as the Padres and Braves conclude their three-game series at Petco Park at 12:40 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Ross has allowed three or fewer earned runs in his last 11 starts and has a 2.77 ERA during that span.
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