Padres top Kimbrel, Braves in 12

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Aug 03 2014 03:25:56 AM EDT
Updated On: Aug 03 2014 03:25:56 AM EDT

SAN DIEGO -- With 32 saves and a 2.05 ERA, Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel is one of the top closers in the National League.

But the right-hander has completed two innings only three times in his career and hadn't worked two full innings since 2011.

Kimbrel (0-3) failed to finish two innings again Saturday night. He walked the bases full in the 12th before giving up a walk-off, one-out single to outfielder Will Venable as the San Diego Padres posted a 3-2 victory over the Braves.

"We had opportunities," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said after his club dropped a second straight game to the Padres and fell to 0-5 on a West Coast road trip. "We're better than this. We're in a funk right now."

"What a very good game tonight for us," said Padres manager Bud Black, who saw his team post its fourth win in the last five games after getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the 12th.

After tying the score 2-2 in the eighth, the Braves had the potential winning run in scoring position five straight innings without scoring. Twice the go-ahead run was thrown out at the plate. They were 0-for-10 with the go-ahead run in scoring position, including 0-for-7 with less than two outs.

Catcher Evan Gattis was thrown out trying to score from third on a one-out grounder to first in the eighth inning. Right fielder Jason Heyward didn't score after doubling to lead off the 10th. Emilio Bonifacio was on second with none out in the 11th but was doubled off second after a running catch by Padres center fielder Alexi Amarista.

None of which compared to what happened to the Braves in the top of the 12th against Padres right-handed reliever Tim Stauffer (3-2).

First baseman Freddie Freeman led off the Braves 12th with a single to center and raced to third on a double to left center by left fielder Justin Upton. Stauffer intentionally walked Hayward to load the bases with none out.

Gattis hit a one-hopper to Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who threw to catcher Rene Rivera to start a third-to-home-to-first double play. The Braves still had runners at second and third with two out when Chris Nelson, playing in his first major league game at first, made a diving stop of third baseman Chris Johnson's grounder before tossing to Stauffer to get the out at first.

Just before Gattis grounder, the Padres met at the mound to discuss the situation.

"We went over a couple pitches to get the best shot of getting a grounder from Gattis," Stauffer said. "The curve worked."

Solarte opened the bottom of the 12th by drawing a walk. Kimbrel struck out outfielder Seth Smith but walked second baseman Jedd Gyorko and Nelson to load the bases with one out. Venable ended the game with a line drive to right that sailed over the head of Heyward, who was playing shallow, for a single.

"With the bases loaded and two down, I didn't want to swing at the slider down," Venable said. "I got a fastball."

Venable singled on Kimbrel's 38th pitch.

"Kimbrel has a great arsenal," Black said. "We made him work."

The Padres scored twice in the seventh to take a 2-1 lead -- ending a streak of 14 scoreless innings thrown by Atlanta right-handed starter Ervin Santana against the Padres this past week. Last Monday in Atlanta, Santana blanked the Padres on five hits with 11 strikeouts over eight innings.

Going into the seventh inning Saturday night, Santana had blanked the Padres on three hits, although he worked out of several jams.

Twice, in the second and sixth innings, the Padres had runners at second and third with one out and failed to score. Also in the sixth, Padres left fielder Tommy Medica, who hit two home runs Friday night, rocketed a drive to left that was about three feet foul of a two-run homer.

Santana's domination of the Padres ended in the seventh.

Rivera led off the inning with a single, was sacrificed to second on a bunt by center fielder Alexi Amarista and moved to third on shortstop Everth Cabrera's groundout to second. Solarte tied the score with a two-out single.

Smith followed with a single and Gyorko drew a walk to load the bases and end Santana's game. But Braves right-handed reliever Jordan Walden threw a wild pitch to allow Solarte to score the go-ahead run.

The Braves tied the score in the top of the eighth when Johnson singled home Heyward, who had singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Padres right-hander Kevin Quackenbush.

NOTES: The Padres held a moment of silence at Petco Park for Atlanta broadcaster Pete Van Wieren, who passed away Saturday at age 69. ... For the first time since Petco Park opened in 2004, the tarp was on the infield before an August game. Rare rain and thunderstorms in the area made it feel like Atlanta in the summer. ... Braves RF Jason Heyward returned to the starting lineup after missing 4 1/2 games with lower back soreness. ... Padres RHP Andrew Cashner had a longer bullpen session Saturday. He will throw a bullpen with the Padres in Minnesota on Tuesday or Wednesday and then begin a rehab assignment with Class A Lake Elsinore next Friday.

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