Back-to-back home runs from Brandon Phillips and Adonis Garcia in the sixth inning proved the difference in the Atlanta Braves’ 4-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Jackie Robinson Day on Saturday night at SunTrust Park.
Leading off the sixth, Phillips — an African-American playing the same second base position that Robinson occupied much of his career and wearing cleats in honor of No. 42 — took a 2-0 pitch below the knees and smashed it over the center field fence to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead in the ball game.
Garcia stepped up next and lifted a high fly ball to deep right-center, one that bounced off the top of the brick wall and into the seats to produce the game’s final run and make it 4-2 Braves.
With the win, the Braves improved to 4-6 on the year, with a three-game winning streak and 2-0 start in SunTrust Park.
R.A. Dickey was impressive with the exception of one inning. After breezing through the first inning on just eight pitches, he ran into control problems in the second. Hunter Renfroe took a low pitch and drove it out to left-center to give the Padres the 1-0 edge. Austin Hedges — who entered the game just 2-for-31 on the season — was the next man up, and turned around a pitch and sent it into the bleachers in left for the 2-0 lead.
Hedges entered the series against the Braves with just one hit to his credit all season, and now has three in two games against Atlanta after a hit on Friday night and two more in Saturday’s game.
The Braves got both of those runs back in the bottom of the third, as four singles were enough to score two runs and tie the game. Chase d’Arnaud led off the inning with a single and Ender Inciarte’s hit put runners on the corners for Dansby Swanson, who hit a ball through the right side of the infield for an RBI single. After Freddie Freeman struck out, Nick Markakis singled to right to plate Inciarte.
Dickey hit for himself in the sixth and returned to the mound in the seventh, but didn’t record an out, as Allen Cordoba and former Brave Christian Bethancourt led off the inning with consecutive infield singles that ricocheted off Dickey.
Dickey was replaced by Jose Ramirez, who got out of the jam and induced an outstanding double play, where Phillips fielded Swanson’s throw at second barehanded and relayed a one-hopper to Freeman, who picked it successfully to barely nab Wil Myers. The Padres challenged the play to no avail.
Dickey earned his first win as a Brave to improve to 1-1 in two starts, as he allowed seven hits and two runs, with a walk and six strikeouts in his six innings of work. Arodys Vizcaino and Jim Johnson pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, as the Braves bullpen continued its string of solid performances in recent games.
Atlanta got to Padres starter Clayton Richard for four runs on nine hits in his six innings of action.
Eight of the nine starters — including the pitchers’ spot -- registered a hit for the Braves. The only one that did not was catcher Kurt Suzuki, who can still say he had a solid day, as he handled Dickey’s knuckleball well and surrendered no passed balls after allowing three in Dickey’s last start.
The Braves and Padres play the third of four games on Easter Sunday, as Bartolo Colon faces off against former Bravo Trevor Cahill at 1:35 p.m. ET on FOX Sports South.