James Shields pitched six shutout innings and received a whole mess of run support as the Padres beat the Braves 9-0 to take the series win. Melvin Upton, replacing the traded Will Venable in the starting lineup, came up big against his former team, recording 5 RBI on a single and two home runs. The 5 RBI were his most in nearly four years; it had been almost two years since he had even three in a game.
The Padres broke through with the first run of the game in the bottom of the third inning. Cory Spangenberg hit a one-out triple, then made it home on a fly ball by Matt Kemp to old friend Cameron Maybin. That lead looked as good as gone in the top of the fourth when Shields loaded the bases with no outs before proceeding to collect his sixth strikeout and then induce a classic 6-4-3 double play to escape unscathed.
San Diego doubled their lead in their half of the fourth on a one-out double from Derek Norris followed by a Melvin Upton single. The 2-0 score held until the sixth, at which point the game was, in the words of Ted Leitner, "ba-lown open!" The two Uptons teamed up to start the scoring. Justin led off with a double off reliever David Aardsma, then two outs later older brother Melvin hit his fourth homer of the year for the Bro-B-I and a 4-0 lead. Aardsma gave up a single to Alexi Amarista before getting the hook, then Ross Detwiler came in and walked Brett Wallace, who was pinch-hitting for Shields. With two on, Yangervis Solarte broke out of his series-long 0-fer in a big way. He blasted a 408-foot home run for the Padres' fifth, sixth, and seventh runs of the game. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez stuck with Detwiler for three more batters, which resulted in Padres on every pillow. Andrew McKirahan came in and stopped the bleeding by getting Yonder Alonso -- the Padres' eleventh batter of the inning -- to ground out. Alonso also made the first out of the inning, making him the soggy bread on the runs sandwich.
They tacked on two more "insurance" runs the very next inning. Derek Norris doubled again and came home on Melvin's second homer of the day. That would hold for the final tally as the Padres decided to be good hosts in the bottom of the eighth and not embarrass them any further.
Shields held Atlanta scoreless by scattering four singles and a double along with two walks over his six innings. He exited after 95 pitches (59 strikes) and seven strikeouts under his belt. His record is now 9-5 while former Padres prospect Matt Wisler fell to 5-3. Odrisamer Despaigne took over and kept the Braves off the board for the next two innings, allowing two singles and a double. Kevin Quackenbush came in for the ninth and closed the door.
The Padres will go for the sweep tomorrow at 12:40pm, with Tyson Ross and Julio Teheran taking turns on the mound.