It doesn’t happen often so when it does it’s pretty shocking. Billy Wagner blew a two-run lead in the ninth and Nick Hundley drove in the winning runs for the Padres in the 12th as San Diego evened the series with a 6-4 win.
Tommy Hanson struggled early with command, leaving the majority of his sliders up and trying to nibble his fastballs way too much. Everth Cabrera and Jerry Hairston each singled in a run in the second to put the Padres up by two. The Padres put a runner on third in the third but left him on. After that, Hanson settled down and pitched well, hitting one, walking one, and giving up one hit after the third inning. Once he quit trying to nibble and got on top of his slider, he was a different pitcher.
The Braves struck for all four of their runs in the third. Back-to-back singles by Martin Prado and Jason Heyward set up a two-run single by Chipper Jones, immediately followed by a two-run home run by Brian McCann for a two-run lead. The offense picked up a single here and there after that, including a triple by Alex Gonzalez in the eighth, but never reached home again.
Hanson was relieved by Jonny Venters with one on and one out in the seventh, and Venters got the final two outs. He also pitched a scoreless eighth. Wagner came in for the save in the ninth and received the first out, but gave up a solo homer to Scott Hairston that cut the lead to one. After the other Hairston singled, Yorvit Torrealba doubled him home for the tying run. Luckily, Wagner got two straight outs out of Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley with Torrealba on third to remain tied.
The Braves and Padres each put a runner in scoring position in the tenth with no luck. They both traded runners in the 11th as well with no luck. With Kris Medlen on the mound in the 12th, the Padres put two on and Oscar Salazar was intentionally walked to get to the bench, where Hundley doubled in both runs. Heath Bell struck out the side in the home half for the win.
Despite his early struggles, Hanson allowed just two runs on six hits – one double – and two walks through 6.1 innings, striking out five. Venters and Wagner have now pitched in back-to-back games and it would serve the Braves well to avoid pitching both tomorrow if they’re in the situation to do so. Wagner just left one too many in the zone tonight. It happens, even to him.
McCann picked up two hits, including the homer, and two RBIs. Jones drove in the other two runs on his only hit. Jason Heyward recorded two singles and some great baserunning again, but he also struck out three times. The rest of the offense didn’t manage much and they weren’t their usual selves, hacking early in the count and not working the pitchers. It resulted in only one walk to 11 strikeouts as a team.