ATLANTA -- The Padres settled for a 5-5 road trip after falling to the Braves, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.Despite being held hitless by Braves starter Julio Teheran through six innings and striking out 17 times, the Padres were in position to rally late, but they missed opportunities
ATLANTA -- The Padres settled for a 5-5 road trip after falling to the Braves, 4-1, on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park.
Despite being held hitless by Braves starter Julio Teheran through six innings and striking out 17 times, the Padres were in position to rally late, but they missed opportunities with runners in scoring position, including a two-on, no-out start to the ninth.
They brought the tying run to the plate as Cory Spangenberg and Freddy Galvis led off the frame with back-to-back singles off Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino to put runners at first and third, but the righty would shut San Diego down for the second straight day, striking out two of the last three batters he faced to earn his 15th save.
"If we wanna be great, we've got to eliminate the strikeouts," Padres manager Andy Green said. "That's been one of our nemeses all season long. Guys that have an opportunity to bring in a guy from third base in particular, finding a different type of swing to get the guy in. And it's been preached; it's time to execute it."
Teheran came off the disabled list and struck out 11 Padres -- six of them consecutively -- in his six no-hit innings. His velocity was up from the last time he faced San Diego at Petco Park on June 4, when three of the five hits he allowed were home runs.
"He was throwing all his pitches for strikes, and in three at-bats I only got one fastball," Spangenberg said. "When the pitcher's doing that, it's pretty tough to hit."
Teheran was lifted after six innings due to a combination of a high pitch count (95) and a hamstring cramp. Shane Carle came in to pitch the seventh for the Braves, and he gave up consecutive one-out singles to Spangenberg and Galvis to wipe out the no-hitter and bring the go-ahead run to the plate. But whatever momentum the Padres conjured up was short-lived, as Carle retired the side with a strikeout and groundout.
San Diego brought the go-ahead run to the plate again in the eighth, and Jose Pirela drove in the Padres' lone run on a sacrifice fly to left to cut the deficit to 2-1. Hunter Renfroe was then caught looking at a 98.6-mph fastball for the third out.
Padres lefty Matt Strahm started the planned bullpen game -- San Diego's fourth such game in four weeks -- and turned in 2 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts. He threw 24 pitches in a first inning that was extended by a wild-pitch strikeout of Freddie Freeman followed by a 10-pitch at-bat to Nick Markakis, who would reach on an infield single.
Strahm has posted a 0.90 ERA in his four starts, compared to a 3.48 ERA in his eight outings in relief.
"I've got my starting routine, and that's been my routine since I was back in college, and I just go about it, and these last four times I've been fortunate enough to know when I'm throwing, so it's kind of helped a little bit," Strahm said.
Once Strahm was lifted, the Braves got to Jose Castillo in the bottom of the fourth with Johan Camargo's two-run double into the left-field corner -- the first runs the lefty has allowed in his young big league career.
The Padres bullpen was able to keep them in the game until lefty Brad Hand served up a two-run homer in the eighth inning to Braves catcher Tyler Flowers, who entered the game when Kurt Suzuki left after being hit in the head by a bat on a follow-through swing by Raffy Lopez to end the top of the second.
The loss snapped San Diego's five-series winning streak.
"It's a tough way to end an otherwise pretty good road trip," Green said. "You're holding a good offense down and you're giving yourself a chance to win, it's tough for it to end that way, but overall I think you walk away thinking a very respectable road trip, that we just missed having a great one."
With the Padres losing three of four in Atlanta and falling to 16-19 in road games this season, it was the first time they have lost a series since dropping two of three games against the Dodgers from May 25-27. It was San Diego's longest series winning streak since 2010.
The Padres head home to open a two-game set against the Athletics on Tuesday. Lefty Eric Lauer will take the mound for San Diego in his 11th career start, and righty Paul Blackburn will get the start for the A's. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. PT.
Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta.