Padres fans can defend the argument that they are a playoff team all they want, but one thing is for certain: they are not the best team in the National League. The Braves shut them down in what should have been the third game of a sweep, winning 8-0.
Tim Hudson pitched seven shutout innings on four singles. The Padres reached second base on an infield single and sac bunt in the third and a single and hit by pitch in the fifth. Otherwise, they managed just two more singles and were stopped at first base. The Padres reached third base once when the leading runner moved to third on a double play in the fifth. Hudson only walked one and struck out four.
The Braves got to Clayton Richard early for two runs in the first and one in the second and third. With runners on the corners and one out in the first, Troy Glaus sac flied a run in and the inning was extended on a Will Venable error. Alex Gonzalez took advantage with an RBI single. Melky Cabrera led off the second with a double and scored on a two-out single by Jason Heyward. After Matt Diaz led off the third with a single, Gonzalez struck again with an RBI double for a four-run lead after three.
Richard still gave up hits but managed to hold the Braves scoreless the rest of his six innings. They put runners on second and third in the fifth on a Gonzalez single and another Cabrera double, but Hudson struck out to end the inning. The Braves broke the game open in the seventh with Ryan Webb on the mound. David Ross doubled in one, Eric Hinske picked up a tough RBI by being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Heyward chopped an RBI single, and Chipper Jones did the same for eight total runs.
Mike Dunn relieved Hudson for the eighth and struggled with control, which can be his issue at times. He walked the first two and eventually loaded the bases with one out before Peter Moylan came in and got the inning-ending double play. Moylan pitched a perfect ninth as well. I still don’t know why either appeared today, but that’s what happens when you don’t have any trust in the backend of your bullpen.
Jones went 3-5 with an RBI. Gonzalez bested him with four hits and two RBIs. Heyward had two hits and two RBIs. Cabrera added two doubles and two walks. Prado’s six-game hitting streak ended with an 0-4 day, though his average was dropping during the streak anyway. He’s now third in the NL in average behind Rafael Furcal and Placido Polanco. Furcal apparently just became eligible because he’s hitting .337. Maybe the Braves should have…never mind, that joke has run its course.
No news on Hinske’s foot yet. X-rays were negative and I’m guessing it will take a day or two to determine. If I had to guess, he should just be day-to-day for a little while. We’ll keep you posted.