ATLANTA -- Padres starter Jordan Lyles deserved a better fate than taking the loss Saturday, when the Braves edged San Diego, 1-0, at SunTrust Park."Any time you give up one run on a solo home run, you definitely deserve to win a baseball game," Padres manager Andy Green said.Lyles and
ATLANTA -- Padres starter Jordan Lyles deserved a better fate than taking the loss Saturday, when the Braves edged San Diego, 1-0, at SunTrust Park.
"Any time you give up one run on a solo home run, you definitely deserve to win a baseball game," Padres manager Andy Green said.
Lyles and Braves starter Sean Newcomb locked into a pitchers' duel early on, as the game remained scoreless through the first four innings. Charlie Culberson changed that in the bottom of the fifth, smacking a four-seam fastball from Lyles over the left-field fence to give the Braves the only run they would need.
"It [bothers me] a little, but there are so many mistakes that a pitcher makes during the game, you can't harp on one," Lyles said. "Obviously, I would have loved to have that [pitch] back and placed it a little lower, down and away. That's where I was trying to go."
Despite the strong outing, Lyles didn't get much help from his offense. After posting 14 hits Friday night, the Padres were held to just four hits Saturday. A lot of that, according to Green, can be attributed to Newcomb. After allowing two hits through the first two innings, Newcomb retired 13 consecutive Padres batters, finishing with seven strikeouts, before giving way to reliever Dan Winkler to begin the seventh following a 25-minute rain delay.
"If there is a profile of a guy who is tough for our group collectively, that's the profile right there," Green said of Newcomb. "He's throwing fastballs by us at the top of the zone. We have to shorten up and connect, and we weren't able to do that today."
Lyles' performance (7 innings, 5 hits, 6 K's) was his best in more than a month. Prior to Saturday, the right-hander had posted a 7.48 ERA over his past five starts.
"Their starting pitcher was just a few pitches better than I was today," Lyles said.
The Padres threatened in the ninth, putting two runners on with one out, but Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino struck out Franmil Reyes and induced a groundout from Freddy Galvis to earn his 14th save.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Hot start fizzles: After taking a two-run, first-inning lead over the Braves on Friday, the Padres' first inning Saturday felt like another setup to strike first. After a leadoff double from Jose Pirela and a walk from Hunter Renfroe, the Padres had runners on first and third with one out. However, Newcomb settled in and struck out Christian Villanueva and Reyes to get out of the jam. Villanueva and Reyes accounted for seven of the Padres' 12 strikeouts on the night.
"In that first inning, when we created that first-and-third opportunity with the heart of our order up, we have to have contact, and we didn't get it," Green said. "All you are looking for is to put the ball in play, and you score a run. That's necessary to beat good starting pitchers and to also knock them off-balance at the beginning of the game."
Lyles became the first Padres pitcher to take a loss despite allowing just one run in seven innings since Thomas Pomeranz lost to the Dodgers on May 1, 2016.
HE SAID IT
"[Lyles] was outstanding, even with the one pitch that gets hit out. You can't define a day by one pitch." -- Green
The Padres will conclude their four-game set with the Braves at SunTrust Park with a 10:35 a.m. PT finale. San Diego will employ their "bullpen day" strategy, pitching all relievers, with Matt Strahm getting his third start in June. The Braves will send out Julio Teheran, who will make his first start since being put on the disabled list with a jammed right thumb on June 5.
Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.