Padres rally vs. Braves bullpen to steal opener
Forsythe's eighth-inning RBI single puts San Diego in front for good
ATLANTA -- The pain in Logan Forsythe's right foot isn't necessarily searing or radiating, though it's with him all the time, which might actually make it worse.
It was with him as he stood in the on-deck circle Friday night at Turner Field and it was certainly with him as he battled Braves reliever Scott Downs during a critical at-bat in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter.
But Forsythe felt something other than the pain that a nagging case of plantar fasciitis has caused him, and it came after his RBI single off Downs helped the Padres to an unlikely 4-3 comeback victory over the Braves before a crowd of 34,112.
Call it unfettered jubilation.
"Absolutely ... right when I got around first base," Forsythe said, smiling. "It's really rewarding. It feels good to do the little stuff like that to help us win."
The 'little stuff' -- from a lot of different contributors -- added up to a big victory for the Padres, who scored four runs over the seventh and eighth inning to stun the Braves, who surely have not had a lot of losses like this one.
"Our guys kept playing," said Padres manager Bud Black. "There were a lot of contributions along the way. Their pitching staff is impressive. But I thought our guys had good at-bats."
Most of them came late in the game, as the Padres struggled early against Braves rookie right-hander David Hale, who was making his Major League debut.
If Hale -- who spent the entire season with the Braves' Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett -- was overwhelmed or even the least bit anxious about his Major League debut, it certainly didn't show in his work.
Hale, 25, used a low-90s fastball effectively and threw his slider and curveball for strikes. He allowed two hits in the first inning -- singles to Chris Denorfia and Jedd Gyorko. Hale ended the threat, though, when he struck out Chase Headley and Kyle Blanks to end the inning.
All told, Hale struck out nine over five scoreless innings.
"His stuff was electric," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He had the two-seamer going, the sinker that the bottom was just dropping off on it. That young man was terrific."
The Braves built a 3-0 lead as Justin Upton hit a home run to start the fourth inning off Padres starting pitcher Ian Kennedy. Three batters later, Brian McCann hit a two-run home run to right field. Kennedy allowed three runs in six innings with two walks and five strikeouts.
The game changed -- and in the Padres case, for the better -- once they got into the Braves' bullpen. In the seventh inning, rookie Tommy Medica, Ronny Cedeno and Rene Rivera singled to load the bases. With Kennedy's spot up, lefty Mark Kotsay was announced as a pinch-hitter. The Braves went to their bullpen for left-hander Luis Avilan.
Black countered with righty Jesus Guzman, who knocked in his 14th run of the season as a pinch-hitter with an infield single to make it 3-1. Two batters later, and with pitcher David Carpenter in the game, the Padres cut the lead to 3-2 on Chris Denorfia's sacrifice fly.
"I thought the guys kept battling and had good at-bats," Headley said. "We kept the pressure on them."
Never was that more apparent Friday than the eighth inning when Headley jumped all over a first-pitch fastball from Jordan Walden, sending it into the seats in right field to tie the score. Medica, playing in his third big league game, followed with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. The Braves went to their bullpen again, this time for Downs.
The Padres then called upon Forsythe, who has battled pain in his right foot for as long as he cares to remember. He was on the 60-day disabled list earlier this season after suffering a tear in his foot in a Spring Training game in March. He returned in June and felt fine, though the plantar fasciitis started to bother him again recently.
Forsythe fell behind Downs with two strikes and then stayed off a sinker down for a ball and a curveball that missed. Finally, he knocked a curveball down in the strike zone into center field that fell for a hit, as the go-ahead run scored.
The Padres, who were 4-63 in games in game in which they trailed after seven innings, are now 5-63.
"What a great at-bat by Logan to finish it off," Headley said.
The Padres bullpen followed Kennedy with three scoreless innings, as Nick Vincent, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street combined for six strikeouts. Street got the last three outs for his 30th save.
"It's a testament to these guys that they kept battling," Gregerson said. "That's why you play nine innings."