One bad inning.
The Padres lost to the Braves on Sunday, 8-3. The game looked like it had potential to be a high-scoring one, with starting pitchers Mike Minor and Eric Stults both entering the game with ERAs over 5.00.
The Padres threatened in the first inning, putting men on second and third on a Chris Denorfia leadoff single, a walk by Tommy Medica, and a passed ball. But a sharp ground ball to third had Denorfia diving back to the bag, and a routine grounder to short ended the threat.
The Padres also had a two-out mini-rally in the second when Alexi Amarista and Stults singled, but again, no runs crossed the plate. The Padres have given Stults almost no run support all year, and this game was no different.
In the meantime, Stults was pitching effectively, retiring the first six Braves he faced.
Newcomer Yangervis Solarte finally got the scoring started with a home run in the third inning. Since coming to San Diego in the Chase Headley trade, Solarte has driven in a run in each of his first five games, making him the first player to start his Padres career with such a feat.
The 1-0 lead was short-lived, as Stults blew up in the third inning, allowing six runs on two doubles, three singles, and a walk. Stults nearly got out of the inning allowing only a pair of runs, but a double down the first-base line by Chris Johnson, which either took a bad hop or was a terrible play by Yasmani Grandal at first base, plated two more. Ryan Doumit followed with a sharp single that went between Stults’ legs, driving in the fifth and sixth runs of the inning.
Stults pitched another three innings, allowing only a walk. In four of his six innings, he retired the side 1-2-3. In another, he allowed only a walk. But that one inning…
The Padres started to claw their way back into the game, on a solo homer by catcher Rene Rivera in the sixth and an RBI single by Medica in the seventh.
But the Padres’ bullpen uncharacteristically did not contain the other team’s offense. In the bottom of the 7th, Alex Torres walked two after a single, loading the bases, and Blaine Boyer came in and gave up a two run double to Justin Upton, completing the scoring in the game.
Stults falls to 3-13 on the year, with a 5.22 ERA.
The series concludes with a fourth game on Monday, starting at 9:1o AM, San Diego time.