Resilient Padres take wild one in 11 at Atlanta
ATLANTA -- The Padres won the finale of a four-game series with the Braves on Thursday at Turner Field, 6-4, in 11 innings, thanks to a two-run single from Yangervis Solarte in the top of the 11th. Trailing, 4-1, in the eighth, San Diego rallied for three runs in the frame to tie it and help push the contest to extras.
The extra-innings win gave the Padres a split of their four-game series with the Braves and a 4-3 record on their road trip, while returning them to .500 on the season at 31-31.
"This has been a pretty intense series; there have been some close games," said San Diego manager Bud Black, who was ejected in the seventh inning after a disputed call on an RBI infield single by Atlanta's Jace Peterson. "There have been a couple of plays … where there were some pitches thrown -- both sides. The tension was a little high."
Atlanta was down to its last available reliever, Brandon Cunniff, to start the 10th. After working a 1-2-3 10th, Cunniff walked Derek Norris to lead off the 11th, then allowed a single to Cory Spangenberg before eventually giving up Solarte's decisive knock.
San Diego starter Andrew Cashner delivered a strong outing for the most part, retiring eight batters in a row at one point. But Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman caught up to the right-hander for a go-ahead solo homer in the sixth inning, and Cashner couldn't get out of the seventh, as Atlanta scored a pair of runs on three singles and a sacrifice fly.
Braves starter Julio Teheran had another solid outing but ran out of gas in the eighth inning, when he loaded the bases and was pulled after facing the first three batters of the frame. He retired 10 straight batters from the third through the six and struck out seven Padres while walking three.
"I don't think he ran out of gas; he just got himself in some trouble," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think that's the third start in a row, going back to San Francisco, that we can't get him through an inning there late in the game when we needed to."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Small ball: After Teheran loaded the bases with no outs to start the eighth, the Braves went to the bullpen, which nearly escaped the inning with limited damage and the lead intact. But a passed ball and catcher's interference call on rookie catcher Christian Bethancourt led to two of San Diego's three runs in the frame. The Braves used five pitchers during the inning, and the Padres recorded just two hits, both singles.
Offspeed stuff working: Teheran made good use of his four-seam fastball during his last start, but on Thursday, he showed off his offspeed offerings -- particularly a low-80s slider. The pitch looked sharp and dangerous all afternoon and was used to get four strikeouts.
"I used my slider and my changeup a lot today," Teheran said. "They worked really good, and my curveball, too. I've been working really hard for this and using more of my fastballs [to set up the other pitches]."
Black tossed: Padres manager Bud Black was ejected in the bottom of the seventh inning after disputing an infield RBI single off the bat of Atlanta's Jace Peterson. Replays showed that the ball hit Peterson's bat twice -- such a play should result in a foul ball -- but the play is not reviewable if no umpires see the ball hit the bat twice. When Black continued to dispute the call, home-plate umpire Jordan Baker ejected him. The Braves pushed across two runs that inning -- one on Peterson's single and one on a sacrifice fly one batter later -- to take a 4-1 lead.
Benches clear: Both benches cleared in the top of the first inning after Teheran ran a fastball a bit too far up and in to Padres slugger Matt Kemp. After throwing his bat down and heading to first, Kemp had words with Teheran, and shortly after, players from both teams ran onto the field. This was the latest moment of hostility between the two teams during this series, as Andrelton Simmons' aggressive slide into Norris at home plate on Tuesday led Wednesday's Padres starter, Tyson Ross, to throw a pitch behind Simmons. Former Braves outfielder Justin Upton was plunked on Wednesday.
"Just one of those things," Freeman said. "No one likes to get hit by any kind of pitch, and in a 1-2 count, obviously that's not on purpose, but whenever you do get hit, you get a little upset."
Missed chances: The Padres missed a chance to add to their eighth-inning rally. Kemp struck out with the bases loaded and no outs, Norris struck out with one out and Will Middlebrooks grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
"Nobody had seen it. You can't call anything you don't see." -- Crew chief Jerry Meals, on the disputed seventh-inning call
"That was no incident. We won the baseball game." -- Kemp, declining to address the first-inning incident after he was hit by a pitch and traded words with Teheran
"If we go out there [in the eighth], and we get 1-2-3 and we hand the ball off to [Jason] Grilli and we don't blow up the bullpen, we get a chance to win the series and have a winning homestand. That didn't happen." -- Gonzalez
Padres: With a seven-game road trip behind them, the Padres return to Petco Park on Friday for the opener of a three-game series with the National League West-leading Dodgers.Righty Odrisamer Despaigne (3-4, 4.72 ERA) will oppose ace Clayton Kershaw (5-3, 3.36 ERA) in the 7:10 p.m. PT start.
Braves: After completing a seven-game homestand, the Braves head north for a quick five-game trip during which they'll take on the Mets -- starting on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET -- and Red Sox before hosting the same two teams at Turner Field starting next Wednesday.
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