Takeaways from the Padres’ 3-1 win over the Braves

SAN DIEGO– Five different Padres pitchers held the Braves to four hits and a run, Cory Spangenberg tripled in the second as part of a two-hit day and San Diego defeated the Braves 3-1 on Wednesday afternoon to take their third series in a row.

San Diego improved to 29-35 while Atlanta fell to 36-26.

Takeaways

Strahm serves as “opener” for Padres

For the second time in less than two weeks, left-handed pitcher Matt Strahm started a bullpen game for the Padres. He did quite a good job, too.

With two outs in the bottom of the first, the red-hot Freddie Freeman homered off Strahm. It was the only blip on the reliever’s radar. The 26-year-old went 2 1/3 innings, allowing two hits and the aforementioned home run. He struck out two while throwing 21 of 30 pitches for strikes.

The former Royal continued a string of solid outings as he continues to work back from last year’s knee surgery. In his last 7 1/3 innings, Strahm has allowed only one run and one walk while striking out five.

“I see a lot of value in starting Strahm off the mound to start ballgames,” stated manager Andy Green. From the beginning, I’ve seen him as a potential starting option for us going forward. He is controlled innings wise, we are going to be sure to protect him.”

“To get him off in a starters capacity is good for him and good for us in the future,” he continued.

Bullpening works!

Without a traditional starter on Wednesday afternoon, the Padres bullpen was tremendous. The aforementioned Strahm opened the game, pitching 2 1/3 innings.

Rookie reliever Jose Castillo followed Strahm and continued an impressive start to his big league career. The Venezuela native pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, striking out two. He ended up earning his first MLB victory.

Adam Cimber pitched the fifth and dominated, striking out the side in a perfect inning.

Kirby Yates relieved the side-armer to pitch the sixth and seventh innings. He did struggle with command at times, but bore down when necessary and averted any damage.

Then, All-Star closer Brad Hand came on for a six-out save. He allowed a leadoff double to Ozzie Albies in the 8th but struck out Dansby Swanson, Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis in succession to strand the talented Braves second baseman at second.

Hand then retired the side in a perfect ninth to record his 18th save of the season and preserve the victory.

Second inning makes all the difference

Down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the second, the Padres took the lead for good with two of their three runs on the afternoon.

Hunter Renfroe led off with a single through the left side of the infield off Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz. Cory Spangenberg followed with an RBI triple into the right-center field gap to tie the game at one apiece.

After Freddy Galvis was unable to get Spangenberg home and Raffy Lopez walked, Manuel Margot lined an opposite-field base hit off the glove of Braves 2B Ozzie Albies to give San Diego the lead.

Coming into the game, Foltynewicz had only allowed two earned runs in his last 32 innings. The Padres did a good job of driving up his pitch count throughout his outing, forcing him to exit after only five innings (100 pitches). He struck out eight.

“Foltynewicz has been dominating people, stated manager Andy Green. “Sometimes you have to scratch and claw and fight. We put guys on base today, we had opportunities and cashed in on enough of them to beat a good starting pitcher.”

Squeezing out a run in the eighth

In need of some insurance, the Padres mounted a rally against Braves reliever Dan Winkler, who had ranked second among all MLB relievers with a 0.74 ERA entering play.

Jose Pirela got the inning started with a single up the middle. A soft Hunter Renfroe ground ball advanced Pirela to second. Cory Spangenberg followed with his second hit of the afternoon to advance Pirela to third.

Freddy Galvis delivered the Padres’ third run of the ballgame with a safety squeeze, scoring Pirela.

Another series win

The Padres have won three series in a row for the first time since July 4-16 of last season.