Playing a team eleven games above .500, the Padres couldn’t afford to make any unforced errors on Saturday if they expected to beat Atlanta. Unfortunately for San Diego, they did exactly what they couldn’t afford, with three errors leading to three unearned runs, that ended up being the difference in Atlanta’s 5-3 victory over the Pads.
Rookie Odrisamer Despaigne got the start for San Diego, looking to notch his third win of the 2014 season. He cruised through the first inning, striking out both of the Upton brothers. In the second inning though, the Braves were able to use small ball to score their first run. A Jason Heyward walk was followed by an Evan Gattis double, and Chris Johnson‘s ground out was enough to score Heyward from third as Atlanta took a 1-0 lead.
It took until the top of the fourth, but the Padres were able to get to Braves starter Julio Teheran. Recently acquired Yangervis Solarte singled to lead off, and Seth Smith followed with a single of his own. With Solarte on second, he was able to easily score on Yasmani Grandal‘s double to center. Once Solarte scored to tie the game, a huffing and puffing Smith came around the bases and scored the go-ahead run. With Grandal’s double the Padres took a 2-1 lead.
With their first lead of the game, San Diego wasn’t able to keep it for long. Batting in the bottom of the fourth, both Heyward and Gattis received free passes from Despaigne, and Chris Johnson’s single scored Heyward. Gattis was thrown out at third base, but Despaigne continued to put himself in dangerous situations. What should’ve been an out recorded by Despaigne turned into a throwing error, allowing Andrelton Simmons to reach safely. Teheran executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to score Johnson from third, and after allowing his third walk in the inning, Despaigne worked a ground ball by Tommy La Stella, but another error, this time by Solarte, kept all runners safe and allowed Simmons to score. Despaigne allowed another run before getting removed from the game by Bud Black after 3 2/3 innings.
The Padres got one run back off of Teheran, as Chris Nelson scored on a Solarte single. But the Braves bullpen wouldn’t allow San Diego to climb any closer to the five runs they needed to extend the game, and Craig Kimbrel earned his 31st save in style, striking out all three Padres swinging in the ninth, ending the game.
With the series tied at one game apiece, the Padres and Braves play again at 2:05 pm on Sunday.