The Braves got to work quickly against Padres lefty Blake Snell and once again, it was Ronald Acuña Jr. who set the table. Acuña jumped on a 2-1 fastball from Snell and hooked it into the left field corner for a leadoff double. He moved to third on a ground out by Matt Olson and then scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Riley to put Atlanta in front 1-0.
Atlanta added on against Snell in the third when Orlando Arcia jumped on a 3-0 pitch and drove it out to left for a solo homer to extend the lead to 2-0.
Meanwhile, Spencer Strider picked back up where he left off in his first start in Washington. He struck out two in a scoreless first and added another in the second.
Strider began the third with back-to-back strikeouts of Rougned Odor and Ha-Seong Kim before Grisham dropped a single in to center. Strider then got Soto to bounce back to the mound to end the inning.
Michael Harris II left the game in the top of the fourth with what the Braves called lower back tightness. He was replaced in center by Sam Hilliard. San Diego finally got some offense going against Strider in the fourth as Manny Machado led off the inning with a hustle double. Xander Bogaerts then grounded sharply back to the mound that Strider flagged down and then threw to third to catch Machado. Baserunning mistake aside, Strider then walked Jake Cronenworth and then allowed a home run to Matt Carpenter on a line drive to right field to put the Padres in front 3-2.
The Braves wouldn’t trail for long though. Sean Murphy got things started with a 109.4 mph double off the wall in center. After a strikeout by Hilliard, Kevin Pillar brought home Murphy with a single to tie the game.
Snell then issued back-to-back walks to Arcia and Acuña to load the bases and then walked Olson on four pitches to force in a run and give Atlanta back the lead 4-3. That would be the end of the line for Snell who was replaced by Domingo Tapia. The reliever struck out Riley looking to end the inning.
The Padres threatened again in the fifth as Kim led off the inning with a soft single to center. Strider struck out Grisham, but then walked Soto. He came back and struck out Machado and then got Bogaerts to ground out sharply into a force play on his 101st pitch of the game.
Spencer Strider, Wicked 86mph Slider.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 7, 2023
9th K pic.twitter.com/RoJtZebBO5
Strider labored at times through the fourth and fifth, but still pitched well. He allowed four hits, three walks and three runs to go along with nine strikeouts.
Lucas Luetge took over in the sixth and promptly served up a long home run to Jake Cronenworth to tie the game again at 4-4. Luetge then walked Carpenter, but retired the next three hitters in order to escape with no further damage.
After Nick Anderson worked a scoreless seventh. Kirby Yates entered and found himself in big trouble after issuing back-to-back walks to Bogaerts and Cronenworth to start the inning. Carpenter flew out to Hilliard in the gap in right center, but both runners moved up 90 feet on the play. Yates struck out Austin Nola for the second out, but then uncorked a wild pitch that scored Bogaerts to put the Padres in front 5-4. Luis Azocar then dropped down a bunt down the third base line that Yates fielded, but threw way wide of first for an error that scored Cronenworth to make it 6-4.
Atlanta wouldn’t quit though and came right back in the home half of the inning. Arcia doubled with one out to get things started and then advanced to third on a ground out by Acuña. Olson delivered a single to left off Padres lefty Tim Hill to make it 6-5. Riley then reached on a slow roller down the line at third and Travis d’Arnaud followed with a single to right that scored Olson to tie the game again.
It looked like the Braves were going to take the lead when Ozzie Albies lifted a fly to left field, but Soto snagged it with a diving try to keep the game tied.
A.J. Minter took over in the ninth and issued a free pass to Grisham, but came right back and struck out Soto for the first out. Machado then reached on an infield single when Arcia tried to throw to second for the force but was late, but Minter got Bogaerts to bounce to Albies who stepped on the bag and fired to first for the double play.
The Braves rallied with two outs in the ninth as Eddie Rosario pinch hit for Pillar and delivered a doubled to right. Arcia then brought him home with a single to center that scored Rosario to give Atlanta a 7-6 win.
The series will continue Friday with Jared Shuster scheduled to make his second career start against Padres’ right-hander Nick Martinez.