Despite a much better outing from Aaron Blair and a strong performance from the middle of the lineup, the Braves dropped their sixth straight game on Tuesday night as the Padres walked it off for a 4-3 victory.
Coming into the bottom of the ninth with a one-run lead, the Braves called on Arodys Vizcaino to close the game. On his second pitch of the inning, Derek Norris squared up a 97-mpg fastball and lined it over the center field wall to tie the game at 3-3. After Alexei Ramirez singled to follow the home run, Atlanta's challenge was just getting to extra innings. Ramirez then stole second and reached third on a wild pitch to give the Padres the winning run on third with nobody out. Travis Jankowski walked to put runners on the corners. With the infield in, Jon Jay lined out to shortstop to give the Braves one out. That would be all they could salvage though, as Will Myers turned on a first-pitch slider and sent it lining down the left field line for a walk-off single.
Atlanta gave Blair some much needed run support early after the lineup had struggled heavily in his starts this season. After Ender Inciarte and Chase d'artaud were retired to open the top of the first, Freddie Freeman walked to start the Braves' two-out rally. Nick Markakis then turned on an inside fastball that landed at the top of the right field wall and brought Freeman all the way around to give the Braves a 1-0 lead.
That lead didn't last long, however, as the Padres answered in the bottom half of the inning. Will Myers walked after Blair struck out Jon Jay, and he stole second with Matt Kemp at the plate. Kemp delivered with a single up the middle to score Myers and tie the game at 1-apiece.
The Braves regained the lead in the top of the third inning with some small ball. Mallex Smith led off with a single and stole second with Inicarte hitting. Smith then made another base running mistake as he jumped too far off the base on Inciarte's grounder to the pitcher. After a rundown, Inciarte made it to second as Smith ran into him running backward away from Rea. d'Arnaud singled to bring around Inciarte, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead, and Freeman followed with another single to put runners on the corners with one out. Markakis drove in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly to bring d'Arnaud home for a 3-1 Atlanta lead.
Blair's chance for his first win was taken away in the fifth inning when he was replaced by Casey Kelly with the bases loaded and only one out. He threw 86 pitches (46 strikes), over 4.1 innings, allowing six hits, three walks, and two runs. A positive from Blair's performance was his ability to generate a few more swings-and-misses. He struck out four in the game. Kelly allowed a sacrifice fly to Melvin Upton Jr. to bring the Padres one run closer, and he struck out Brett Wallace to avoid any further damage by getting out of the jam.
Atlanta will try to avoid a three-game sweep and its' seventh straight loss on Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. ET. Julio Teheran is expected to take the mound for the Braves. Stay tuned for more.