Bogaerts, Cruz, bullpen lead San Diego past Braves, 5-4

Updated Apr. 7, 2023 11:36 p.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) — Xander Bogaerts drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, Nelson Cruz went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and the San Diego Padres got strong relief pitching to beat the Atlanta Braves 5-4 on Friday night.

“There's big outs over the course of a game, but that last out of the fifth was huge,” manager Bob Melvin said of Brent Honeywell's bases-loaded strikeout against Eddie Rosario. “For a guy who really didn't know what his role was early on, we knew he had some length potentially."

The Padres began the game with a 5.84 bullpen ERA, third-highest in the majors, before Honeywell (1-0), Luis García and Josh Hader combined to blank Atlanta in the last 4 1/3 innings. Hader celebrated his 29th birthday with his second save of the season — retiring three of four batters with two strikeouts in the ninth.

Bogaerts put San Diego up 5-4 with an RBI single that bounced into shallow right field on a check-swing. His good fortune helped San Diego, which advanced to the NL Championship Series last year, stop a two-game skid and improve to 4-4.


“When you have two games that ended like the last two did for us it feels like it's been a while since you won a game when in reality we just lost a couple of games,” Melvin said. “But against this team ... it was a good game to win.”

The five-time defending NL East champion Braves, who dropped to 6-2, scored three times in the third to force a 3-3 tie on Marcell Ozuna's homer, Riley's RBI single and a wild pitch by starter Nick Martinez, who gave up a bases-loaded walk in the fifth to make it 4-4. Martinez walked five and allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

“We had the deck stacked a couple of times, more than that, really,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We just couldn't get a big hit tonight.”

Atlanta rookie Jared Shuster had his own struggles with command throughout four-plus innings, walking four and giving up four runs and six hits. He issued a one-out walk to Juan Soto in the first and gave up an infield single to Manny Machado and an RBI double to Cruz before allowing a bases-loaded walk that made it 2-0.

San Diego led 3-0 in the second on Cruz's infield single. The Padres went up 4-3 in the fifth when Machado doubled and scored on another single by Cruz.

“It's always nice to be a part of offensive power — that's my job,” said the 42-year-old Cruz, in his first season with San Diego. “It was good to see the bullpen bounce back and get the W. It always feels nice to feel a part of the team in a win.”

Michael Tonkin (0-1) took the loss.


Atlanta RF Ronald Acuña Jr. leaped to make a tough catch against the wall to rob Soto of an extra-base hit and end the fourth.


Braves 2B Ozzie Albies and LF Eddie Rosario went a combined 0 for 9 with 14 runners left on base.


The Braves placed CF Michael Harris II on the injured list with a lower back strain and called up Eli White from Gwinnett to take his place. Sam Hilliard took the spot of Harris, last year's NL Rookie of the Year, in the lineup and went 2 for 4. Snitker said Harris isn't injured seriously and should be ready to return in 10 days. ... Padres RHP Joe Musgrove, recovering from a fractured left big toe, gave up five hits and three runs — two earned — while striking out six in a rehab start Thursday for Triple-A El Paso in Sacramento. Melvin said it was too early to tell if Musgrove will need another rehab start before he rejoins the rotation. Melvin added that LHP Ryan Weathers, who took Musgrove's spot, will likely get another start, Monday at the New York Mets.


Braves RHP Charlie Morton (1-0, 5.06 ERA) will start opposite San Diego RHP Michael Wacha (1-0, 6.00) as the teams play the third game of a four-game series. Rain is forecast for Saturday, so the game could get pushed back as part of a doubleheader on Sunday.


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