It took a phenomenal defensive play from Jordan Schafer in the final inning of the Atlanta-San Diego series to assure that the hometown Braves wouldn't be swept. When the Padres came to town they were in the cellar of the National League, holding a 22-31 record good for fifteenth out of sixteen NL teams. Each game was decided by just one run, as the first two went to San Diego - 3-2 in ten innings and 5-4 to assure the series win in game two - while the home team took the final game 4-3.
Bud Black recently made a number of moves with his roster in an attempt to turn his team's fortunes around. Kyle Phillips, Blake Tekotte, and Logan Forsythe all had limited Major League experience coming into the series. Phillips hit his first and second career Major League homers off of Braves pitching during the series. The hot-hitting Chase Headley was able to extend his hitting streak into double digits against Braves pitching, leaving Atlanta having hit in eleven straight.
It's easy to look at the first game of the series as one that got away from the Braves. Sloppy throws to second by Hudson and later Schafer resulted in the two runs the Padres needed to send the game into extras. Hudson pitched quite well during the day game, though, striking out seven in six innings and allowing just two runs (one earned). McCann drove in the Braves' only two runs that day and stayed hot throughout the series, going 6 for 14 with 3 RBI. Freddie had a big series, keeping his hot streak alive by going 7 for 12, and driving in 4 of the Braves' 10 runs over the series.
Dan Uggla went 0 for 8 on the series, taking a day off from starting duties on Tuesday. The most frustrating thing to watch was when Uggla made his way to the plate in the first inning of last night's game and popped out to Logan Forsythe at second. This happened with the bases loaded, one out, and two runs already across. Clayton Richard's only out of the inning had to that point been a 390 foot fly ball to center by Schafer to lead off, and it looked like Richard may not make it out of the first. It seems like we've all been beating a dead horse with this topic, but he has become an automatic out that a guy like Clayton Richard dreams of seeing in the circumstances under which he came to the plate.
Tommy really did bounce back nicely, last night, from a couple of uncharacteristic outings. He gave up two earned runs off of one mistake pitch over the plate that resulted in a souvenir for a fan in the right field seats. Hanson limited the Padres to just three hits over six innings.
Minor's outing on Tuesday was scattered with hits as he dealt with Padres on base in nearly every inning, though he limited the Padres to just three earned runs. The third run credited to Minor crossed the plate while Cory Gearrin was pitching. Gearrin's outing lasted entirely too long. As an outside observer, I felt like better bullpen management on Fredi's part could have saved the game for the Braves, as Chipper drove in two big runs late in the game.
The Nats helped us out by beating the Phillies in two of three, so Atlanta lost no ground in the NL East race over the last three days. Next for the Braves is a three city road trip, beginning against everybody's favorite Mets.