Matt Potter 2:07 p.m., March 24
Casey Kelly did on Monday night what a lot of baseball scouts thought he would do when called up to the big leagues. With a well-located fastball that sinks, a very good curve ball, and an improved change-up, Kelly held the Atlanta Braves to just 3 hits and 2 walks in six innings and the Padres shut out the Braves, 3-0.
Kelly struck out four, but was more effective in getting Braves batters to hit into outs, including two double plays when Casey was on the hill. Kelly also got his first major league hit in the fifth inning, a single up the middle off of Braves starting pitcher Paul Maholm.
All three Padres runs were driven in by catcher Yasmani Grandal. In the bottom of the second inning after Carlos Quentin walked, Grandal blasted Maholm slider on a rope over the left field fence, giving the Padres an early 2-0 lead.
Kelly also helped himself on the field. After Chipper Jones walked and Freddie Freeman flied to left, Kelly snagged a Brian McCann ground ball and rifled to second base to begin to turn a nifty double-play to end the inning.
Casey Kelly was originally drafted as a short stop by the Boston Red Sox before being converted to a pitcher in 2009. In high school, Kelly also played football, so his athleticism was a big drafting point.
Meanwhile, the Padres added a run in the bottom of the eighth inning. With Miguel Batista pitching relief for the Braves, Chase Headley walked with one out.
Carlos Quentin then popped out, and with Yasmani Grandal at the plate, Headley swiped second base, his 13th successful steal of the season. Grandal then lined a single to right field, plating Headley, and the scoring was complete.
Padres relief pitchers were also outstanding. Newcomer Tommy Layne pitched a solid seventh inning, getting the Braves in order. Dale Thayer came in to hold the eighth inning, giving up only a walk, and Luke Gregerson earned his second save of the season.
Gregerson allowed a lead-off single to Martin Prado, but then retired Jason Heyward, and got Chipper Jones to hit into a double-play to end the game. The Padres improved to 60-70 while the Braves fell to 73-56.
As Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves has declared that he is ready to hang up his cleats after 19 years in major league ball, he is being honored at various ballparks while on the road. Petco Park was no exception on Monday, as before the game the Padres presented Jones with a custom surfboard. Former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman was the presenter. It's a classy gesture, but a complete unknown as to whether Chipper even surfs. But hey, it could make for a very unique ironing board.
Wednesday morning, the Padres will hold a press conference. The Padres are mum concerning the nature of the presser other than it is, "regarding the sale of the franchise", but smart money is on ownership being approved and the formal introduction of the controlling group. Stay tuned.
Tuesday, game two of the three-game series with the Braves continues with Atlanta's Kris Medlen (5-1, 1.86) facing Andrew Werner (1-0, 3.00) of the Padres. It will be Werner's second major league start. Game time is 7:05 PM PDST and carried on the regular broadcasting outlets (radio on XX 1090 AM, televised on Fox Sports San Diego). Or else, now that the weird weather has settled down, just head out to Petco Park. There should be some seats available.
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