Jair Jurrjens put together another solid start and Matt Diaz hit his third home run in as many games to give the Braves the edge in the opener of a three game series vs. the N.L West leading San Diego Padres. The Braves have now won all four of Jurrjens starts since he returned from the disabled list, and he has allowed just six runs in 24.1 innings pitched over that span. With the victory, the Braves now have a .5 game lead over the Padres for the best record in the N.L.
The Padres opened up the scoring when Chris Denorfia hit a solo shot in the second inning, but Jurrjens kept their bats at bay from that point on. Jair ended up with a line of 7 IP 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K. The strikeouts are great to see as Jurrjens isn't known to be a strikeout pitcher. Lefties Jonny Venters and Billy Wagner finished off the game by throwing an inning each and striking out a batter a piece while allowing no base runners. Wagner earned his 22nd save and Venters earned his 11th hold. For the 63 of you that picked Jurrjens to give up the first homer, you were right. Fortunately, he did so and the Braves still came out on top.
Offensively, the Braves were struggling until Matt Diaz hit his fourth home run of the season in the fourth inning. Diaz put one over the left field fence after a Troy Glaus walk. Matty also added another RBI in the seventh inning as he singled off of Ryan Webb to make it a three run game. Jason Heyward went 3-4 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored. Heyward killed the ball all night, and if he is able to produce like he did before his injury, the rest of the N.L. is in serious trouble. I predicted that Jason would have a good series in the preview and he is definitely on to a good start. Martin Prado added his 26th double of the season and also walked and scored a run.
More after the jump.
Padres starter Wade LeBlanc pitched well, allowing just two runs over six innings, but he made a mistake to the one Braves batter lefties cannot make a mistake to in Diaz. LeBlanc pitched better than I expected. The Braves are still struggling against left-handers, which is not a good sign, but thankfully the Braves can win these low scoring games due to having one of the top pitching staffs in baseball.
Up next is Jon Garland (9-6, 3.45 ERA, 4.41 FIP, 4.44 xFIP) vs. Tommy Hanson (8-6, 4.19 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 4.01 xFIP). Garland allows a good amount of line drives and the Braves generally hit righties pretty well. If Hanson throws a decent game, the Braves have a great chance to take the series tomorrow night.