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The Atlanta Braves came to Petco Park as the best team in the National League while the Padres were limping along well below even on the season. Three games later, the tables have been turned as the scrappy Padres beat the Braves on Wednesday, 5-3, to sweep the three-game series.

Edinson Volquez got the start and received a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning and settled in to keep the Braves behind for seven innings. Chris Denorfia added two more in the fifth inning with a nice shot to left field for a two-run homer, and the bull pen looked wobbly and ultimately held, with Nick Vincent striking out Justin Upton to get his first career save in the big leagues.

Denorfia isn’t known for his power so much as his ability to hit in the clutch and hit often, but he got ahold of a Paul Maholm fastball and took it deep. “He did a pretty good job of getting a couple of balls in on me the first two at bats, and that’s sort of how he was getting guys out after the first inning. So I just tried to make an adjustment and wait for a pitch in there and put a pretty good swing on it,” Denorfia said.

The Padres bull pen made the fans nervous again, allowing a home run in the eighth inning and getting into plenty of trouble in the ninth. “Luke [Gregerson] and Dale [Thayer], those two guys have been at it. Those guys have been so durable and so willing, every day to go out there and help us win games,” said manager Buddy Black.

Thayer got two outs in the eighth, but Gregerson entered in the ninth and gave up a run on two hits. Left-hander Tommy Layne came in and gave up a hit before Vincent closed the game.

Volquez was good, in comparison to his past few starts when he wasn’t. “We’ve seen that out of [Volquez],” said Buddy. “I think for him it’s about the secondary pitches in the strike zone. Today, he threw the hook in the strike zone, he made some great pitches with the change-up, and when they start looking for the secondary pitches, here comes the fast ball.”

Black was also quite pleased with the sweep over the Braves. “They’re a good team. You look at how they’ve pitched this year, both in the rotation and in the bull pen. You look at the lineup with the homers, and the damage they can do, it’s a very threatening lineup.”

And considering that the Padres are without their starting first baseman, second baseman, center fielder, and closer, not to mention having three starting pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery, the sweep against the Braves was quite an accomplishment. “Our guys rose to the occasion,” Black said. “The depth of our position player group, we feel good about. They come to play.”


Thursday, the Padres had a day off. Friday, the Arizona Diamondbacks come to town for three games, and Eric Stults (5-5, 3.53) will throw for the Padres and face Trevor Cahill (3-7, 4.01) of the Snakes. Game time is 7:10 PM PDST with radio 1090 AM calling it and visuals on Fox Sports San Diego.

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