The Atlanta Braves flopped in their last outing, falling by a 7-0 margin on Sunday afternoon at SunTrust Park. With an eye toward avenging that loss and kicking off a west coast trip on a positive note, Sean Newcomb and company put together a very strong performance in a 3-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday.
For the most part, the early going was uneventful on both sides, though the Braves suffered from an unfortunate bounce in the third inning. Nick Markakis produced a ground-rule double and, if not for an unfortunate bounce over the fence, Brandon Phillips likely would have scored to take the lead. Atlanta failed to capitalize, though, and the scoreboard was blank until the top of the fourth.
At that point, Matt Adams led off the inning with a double and Tyler Flowers stroked a single to place runners on the corners with no outs. Dansby Swanson struck out but, on cue, Johan Camargo stepped to the plate and smacked a double off the left-center field wall. Camargo was thrown out trying to stretch the play to a triple but the damage was done in the form of two runs and a lead for the road team.
Sean Newcomb would, in short, take it from there.
The young left-hander navigated six scoreless innings while allowing only seven base-runners and Newcomb generated eight strikeouts along the way. He mixed pitches beautifully while deploying a high-end arsenal of “stuff” and Newcomb looked every bit the part of a potentially dominant force from the left side of the rubber.
Somewhat fittingly, Newcomb avoided trouble in his final full inning of work. Jose Pirela produced a bloop double to lead off the sixth frame but Newcomb induced a groundout and then finished off the inning with two strikeouts (sandwiched around a walk) to prevent further damage with a two-run lead.
In fact, his performance made a bit of history along the way.
Newcomb would remain in the game to begin the seventh, though he allowed an infield hit and was promptly removed. Fortunately, Jason Motte was able to finish the inning without allowing San Diego to draw closer and the duo of Jose Ramirez and Jim Johnson (who made things slightly interesting in the ninth) were able to finish the contest without blemish.
The Braves would add an insurance run in the eighth inning, as Nick Markakis brought Ender Inciarte to the plate with a sacrifice fly. All told, it was not an explosive offensive performance for Atlanta but, with Newcomb and the bullpen combining for excellence, it was more than enough.
Bartolo Colon will make his return to the rotation on Wednesday evening as the same two teams face off again in San Diego. Stay tuned.