Dave Rice 7:20 a.m., May 24
With Clayton Richard on the mound for the Padres and Tim Hudson going for the Atlanta Braves, the obvious expectation would be a pitcher’s duel. And that’s what happened on Tuesday at Turner Field, for a little while at least, as the Padres and the Braves faced off for the second game of a four game series.
Clayton Richard was good, but Tim Hudson was outstanding, as Hudson combined with three Braves relievers to shut out the Padres 6-0. Padres pitching allowed 10 hits while the Braves hurlers limited the Padres to just five.
The Braves struck in the bottom of the first inning. Michael Bourn tripled to lead off the frame, and after Clayton Richard got Martin Prado on a pop-up, Freddie Freeman drove in Bourn on a ground ball and the Braves staked themselves to an early 1-0 lead.
Both Clayton Richard and Tim Hudson were brilliant until in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dan Uggla belted a Richard fastball over the right field wall. After five innings, the Braves lead was 2-0.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Braves added on as Tim Hudson kept the Padres at bay. Martin Prado opened the frame with a single, followed by Freddie Freeman’s line drive, putting Prado at third and Freeman at first with no one out. Chipper Jones then singled up the middle scoring Martin, and the Braves led 3-0 going into the seventh inning.
The Padres finally chased Tim Hudson in the seventh, when with one out, Yonder Alonso singled and Jonny Venters replaced Hudson. Chris Denorfia pinch-hit for Mark Kotsay and struck out, and Logan Forsythe walked, but Cameron Maybin struck out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Braves broke it open and the pitcher’s duel was over. Paul Janish singled, and Jason Heyward grounded out, forcing Janish at second base. Heyward then stole second.
Michael Bourn singled, moving Heyward to third base. That was the end for Clayton Richard, who was replaced by Brad Boxberger. Bourn then stole second base, but it didn’t matter, after Martin Prado hit his sixth home run of the season, and the Braves led 6-0 after seven innings.
The Padres had no answer for Braves relief pitching and 6-0 was the final. The Padres fell to 52-66 while the Braves improved to 67-49. The four game series is now tied at a game apiece. Tim Hudson was magnificent, allowing only two hits and a walk over six and one-third innings. Hudson is now 12-4 on the year, as Clayton Richard is 9-12.
Tom Layne, just called up from AA San Antonio, made his big league debut tonight, pitching an inning and striking out all three Braves batters he faced in the ninth inning. It doesn’t get much better than that for a pitcher who relishes the relief role.
Wednesday, the series continues when the Padres send Edinson Volquez (7-8, 4.03) to face Paul Maholm (10-7, 3.50) of the Braves. Game time at 4:10 PM PDST, the usual media covering the proceedings include radio XX 1090 AM and television will provide images if you get Fox Sports San Diego, but somewhere around half of you don’t, and that makes for a sad, sad portion of America’s Finest City. Don’t you think so?