Braves 4, Padres 3

Tommy Hanson wasn’t fazed by the heat.

Well, except for all the changing.

”I went through three jerseys and three hats,” Hanson said.
”I was drenched.”

He also was a winner, going six strong innings on the sweltering
night to lead the Atlanta Braves past San Diego 4-3 Wednesday and
prevent the Padres from sweeping the series.

Freddie Freeman drove in two runs, Martin Prado homered and
center fielder Jordan Schafer made an outstanding catch for the
final out, crashing into the wall but holding on.

”He made a nice play. He kept after it with good speed. No
tentativeness,” Padres manager Bud Black said. ”Once he reached
the track he knew what was at stake. He didn’t even shy away from
the wall and made a hell of a play.”

The temperature was 94 degrees at the first pitch and didn’t get
much cooler.

”It was really hot out there,” Hanson (6-4) said. ”But this
is my third year pitching here. I’m used to it. You know it’s going
to be hot.”

He allowed just three hits, giving up both runs on Kyle
Phillips’ homer in the second. Three relievers finished up, with
Craig Kimbrel working the ninth for his 16th save in 20 chances –
getting a big assist from Schafer.

Kimbrel struck out two before giving up a single. Logan Forsythe
followed with a drive to deep right-center that looked as though it
might at least bring in the tying run, but Schafer reached up to
haul it in before he slammed into wall and tumbled backward.

The Braves snapped San Diego’s season-high four-game winning
streak, which included a pair of one-runs victories over Atlanta to
start the series. The Padres couldn’t finish off their first
three-game sweep at Turner Field since the park opened in 1997.

”That was a good way to finish it after the last couple of
nights,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, shaking his head
after the team’s fifth straight one-run game.

Clayton Richard (2-6) took the loss. He had baserunners all over
the place, allowing eight hits and walking four in 4 2-3 innings.
Finally, with two more Braves aboard, Pat Neshek came on to retire
Joe Mather on a grounder.

”Too many pitches were just elevated,” Richard said, ”and
they took advantage of them.”

Neshek gave up Prado’s homer in the sixth, which turned out to
be the decisive run. The Braves outfielder spent some extra time in
the cage after going 0 for 4 in Tuesday’s loss.

It paid off.

”I couldn’t go home like that,” Prado said. ”When I don’t
feel good, I go in there and try to fix it. Today, I felt a lot
better. I got a couple of pitches to hit and I put the ball in
play.”

Dan Uggla got an unexpected day off Tuesday, the Braves hoping
that would help their struggling second baseman break out of his
season-long slump. He returned to the lineup batting seventh, the
lowest he’s been all season.

Neither the rest nor the new spot seemed to help. Uggla went 0
for 4, popping out in the first with the bases loaded and watching
his average sink to .175.

The Braves jumped on Richard right away. With one out in the
first, Prado doubled to left-center and Chipper Jones reached on an
infield hit, throwing a scare into Atlanta fans when he tumbled
over first baseman Brad Hawpe, who was pulled off the bag by the
throw.

Jones, already playing with a sore muscle in his left leg and a
torn meniscus in his right knee, got up slowly but was OK – much to
the relief of the Braves, who already have a patched-together
lineup with Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth on the disabled list. In
fact, Jones talked his way into the lineup, not wanting to weaken
the offense even more to nurse his various ailments.

After the 39-year-old pulled himself together after the fall,
Brian McCann singled to left to make it 1-0. Freeman followed with
another run-scoring single to center, and Alex Gonzalez made it
five straight hits off Richard to load the bases with one out.

That would’ve been an opportune time for Uggla to break out of
his slump, but he popped out to second base on the very first
pitch. Richard escaped the jam by getting Mather on a called third
strike.

The Padres tied it up in the second. After Hawpe led off with a
single, Phillips connected with his second career homer, a one-out
drive that barely cleared the wall in right. His first homer came
Monday night, a solo shot in the 10th that gave San Diego a 3-2
win.

Hanson was pretty much untouchable after that. He retired 14 of
the last 16 hitters he faced, the only baserunners coming on a pair
of walks. The right-hander struck out four.

The Braves gave Hanson the run he needed for the win in the
third when McCann doubled and Freeman drove him in with another
two-bagger, a checked swing that wound up staying fair just inside
the third-base bag.

Prado gave Hanson a cushion in the sixth, restoring the two-run
lead by driving an 0-2 pitch from Neshek over the wall in left with
two outs. It was Prado’s team-leading eighth homer of the
season.

Pinch-hitter Jorge Cantu brought San Diego within a run, hitting
a sacrifice fly off Eric O’Flaherty in the seventh. But Jonny
Venters struck out the side in the eighth, and Kimbrel finished up
to tie the mark for the most saves by an NL rookie before the
All-Star break.

He matched Yhency Brazoban of the Dodgers in 2005 and still has
plenty of time to eclipse him.

NOTES: Schafer beat out an infield single in the second and has
reached base in eighth straight games since being called up from
Triple-A to replace McLouth. … Padres OF Aaron Cunningham struck
out as a pinch-hitter to end the seventh after being summoned from
the minors before the game to replace Cameron Maybin, who went on
the DL with a sore right knee.