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Stults Stymies Braves in Series Opener

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August 13, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults (53) pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE
August 13, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Eric Stults (53) pitches in the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Our Padres made a statement today in the opening game of their series against the Braves. After taking two of three from the Pirates over the weekend, they kicked off their four-game set in Atlanta with a 4-1 victory. Cameron Maybin on defense, Chase Headley on offense, and Eric Stults on the mound led the way to our eighth win in ten games.

Our Friars scored their runs one at a time. In the 2nd inning, Chris Denorfia scored on a sac fly by Maybin to give us a lead that would never be relinquished. Stults led off the top of the 5th with a single and later came home on an RBI single by Headley. Denorfia's leadoff triple in the 6th, followed by a single by Yonder Alonso, resulted in another run. Finally, a solo homer by Headley in the 7th capped the Padres' scoring for the night.

Stults was brilliant on the hill for his second straight start. Though not completely lights-out, he was able to keep the Braves guessing, which translated to success. He also was able to keep his cool when he got into trouble, which happened a couple of times during the game. With two outs in the 4th inning, Alonso committed a fielding error that allowed Jason Heyward to get to first. Chipper Jones followed with a single, and then an error by Carlos Quentin allowed Heyward to reach third. But Stults eliminated the threat by getting Freddie Freeman to ground out to end the inning.

Another threat came in the 6th. Again with two outs, Stults gave up back to back singles to put runners at the corners. But Chipper Jones flied out to end the inning with no damage done. Stults took a three-hit shutout into the 8th inning, when Martin Prado hit a two-out RBI triple to finally put the Braves on the board. At that point, Buddy Black called on Luke Gregerson to record the final out of the inning, which he promptly did by striking out Jason Heyward.

Dale Thayer took the mound in the 9th to close the game, and he did his job, retiring the Braves in order to get the save and seal the win. The game was by no means a slaughter. There were a few close calls where Atlanta threatened to score, and our offense wasn't completely on its toes (more baserunning blunders, leaving guys stranded, etc.), but in the end our boys did enough to reward Stults' pitching performance.

Final - 8.13.2012 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego Padres 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 4 12 2
Atlanta Braves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 0
WP: Eric Stults (3 - 2)
SV: Dale Thayer (6)
LP: Mike Minor (6 - 9)

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