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Braves 4, Padres 2: Opener flummoxes Friars again

MLB: San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres just can’t seem to catch a break in series openers. They fell today against a brutally effective Aníbal Sánchez, who tossed seven shutout innings for the Braves. Tyson Ross had a solid night, holding Atlanta to three runs over six frames. And one of those runs reached base on an extremely questionable call, so he basically put up a quality start. The biggest problem was that the Padres just couldn’t produce with runners in scoring position. At one point, they left a leadoff double stranded on third.

The Friars fell behind in the third. Ender Inciarte hit a leadoff single, and a one-out sac bunt put him in scoring position for Ozzie Albies, who doubled him home. Inciarte scored again in the fifth when he took Ross yard.

The Pads had a great opportunity to answer back in the sixth when A.J. Ellis led off with a double. Tyson did his job and bunted him over to third, even after fouling off the first two pitches. A weird ball off the glove of third baseman Johan Carmago put Jose Pirela on first with an infield single, but didn’t advance Ellis. And then, in another episode of That’s So Padres, Cory Spangenberg and Eric Hosmer both popped out to end the inning.

Tyson’s night ended when he started the seventh by beaning Tyler Flowers. Except the only person who seems to think the pitch caught Flowers’ fingers was home plate umpire Mark Ripperger, as neither Flowers nor Ellis behaved like anything unusual had happened. But the replay dorks in New York refused to overturn the call, and Flowers was awarded his base. Robbie Erlin took over, but couldn’t hold Flowers. A single, a wild pitch, and a ground out plated the third Atlanta run of the night.

The Friars finally got on the board in the eighth with a two out rally. Pirela and Spangy started it with singles, and Hosmer plated them both with his twentieth two-bagger of the year.

Adam Cimber was doing a solid job holding the Braves to a one run lead, retiring the first two batters in the eighth, but then gave up a double to Freddie Freeman. Cimber walked Nick Markakis to get to Flowers, who hit an easy grounder to end the inning... except Cimber’s throw to first was wildly off target, allowing Freeman to score. The Friars couldn’t make up the two-run deficit in the ninth, and another series has started with a loss.

Clayton Richard heads back to the mound tomorrow after twirling a gem on Sunday. He’ll take on Brandon McCarthy, who will have the first pitch at 4:35 PM.