Casey Kelly Impresses in Major League Debut

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 27: Casey Kelly #49 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the third inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Petco Park on August 27, 2012 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

In his first major league start, Casey Kelly definitely lived up to the hype. His six innings of three-hit baseball, along with some timely hitting, propelled our Padres to their eight straight victory.

The Braves struggled at the plate and failed to put runs on the board for their pitchers. Once again, Paul Maholm became the victim of the long ball. Since joining the Braves, Maholm has made five starts and given up ten total runs, each of which resulted from home runs. Last night was no different. Maholm issued a walk to Carlos Quentin to lead off the 2nd. The next batter he faced, Yasmani Grandal, went yard to put San Diego on top 2-0. Those were the only two runs he gave up in his 6 2/3 innings of work, but his offense's four total hits and three walks didn't translate to runs and Maholm took the loss.

Our Padres also scored via small ball last night. With reliever Miguel Batista on the mound in the bottom of the 8th, Chase Headley walked, stole second, and came home on an RBI single by Grandal. The three runs were more than enough to secure the win for Kelly, who had a fantastic night in his much-anticipated major league debut.

Maybe it was the fact that we're in the midst of a season-long win streak or that we aren't necessarily fighting for a playoff spot right now, but Kelly looked so comfortable on the hill at Petco Park. After allowing Braves runners to get to second base in each of the first two innings, he faced the minimum three hitters in each of the next four innings. He recorded his first major league strikeout against Paul Janish in the 2nd, and ended up with four strikeouts on the night while issuing just two walks. He also recorded his first major league hit last night, hitting a two-out grounder up the middle in the 5th inning.

Kelly exited after six frames and gave way to the bullpen, who secured his victory. Tommy Layne retired the Braves in order in the 7th. Dale Thayer, in his first game back since his paternity leave, gave up a two-out walk in the 8th but got out of the inning unscathed. Luke Gregerson gave up a leadoff single in the 9th, but later got Chipper Jones to ground into a double play to end the game. Gregerson got his 2nd save of the season and extended his scoreless inning streak to 23.

Final - 8.27.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Atlanta Braves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
San Diego Padres 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3 9 0
WP: Casey Kelly (1 - 0)
SV: Luke Gregerson (2)
LP: Paul Maholm (11 - 9)

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