SAN DIEGO -- After the way they were pounded here on Monday, the Atlanta Braves will gladly head home with a 3-3 record on a West Coast trip.
Rookie Jason Heyward drove in two runs on a pair of doubles and Martin Prado homered to help the Braves win 6-2 on Thursday and take two of three from the San Diego Padres."It turned out to be a good trip," manager Bobby Cox said.Leading 3-2, the Braves gave themselves a cushion with three straight run-scoring hits with two outs in the eighth. Yunel Escobar singled, Heyward doubled into the left-center gap and pinch-hitter Eric Hinske singled."It's nice to see," Tim Hudson said. "There's nothing more that puts a dagger in the other team than when you get some two-out RBIs when you're only up by one."Atlanta lost 17-2 on Monday, surrendering 19 hits to the Padres. In the next two games, Atlanta held San Diego to three runs on 12 hits.Hudson (1-0) held the Padres scoreless on three hits through five innings before the Padres broke through in the sixth. Will Venable hit a leadoff homer, his third, and Everth Cabrera singled to bring in Matt Stairs, who hit a two-out double.The Padres loaded the bases with two outs in the third and fourth innings before Hudson got out of the jams."I got into some trouble and was able to make some pitches whenever I needed to," Hudson said. "You've got to give them credit, too. They laid off some pretty good pitches to work some walks and they got some pitches to hit after working the count a little bit. Dancing in and out of trouble, for the most part I was able to go out there and give us a pretty good chance to win. I came out with the lead and the guys picked me up and put some runs on the board late."Hudson was chased by Cabrera's single in the sixth. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked five and had no strikeouts.Prado's homer came off Mat Latos (0-1), who allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings."I frustrated myself," Latos said. "I felt a couple of pitches in the first couple of innings could've gone the other way, as far as being called balls and could've been strikes. I kind of let that affect me a little bit. I got a little aggravated and started to overthrow. That's not my game plan. That's not me. I'm better than that."Manager Bud Black said Latos' fastball command "was really erratic. He would throw one really solid fastball and come back with one up. He just couldn't consecutively make pitches in the first couple of innings."The Braves built a 3-0 lead on Prado's first homer of the year, Heyward's RBI double in the fourth and Brian McCann's RBI double in the fifth.Heyward worked the gaps in spacious Petco Park."He's a good-looking young player," Black said. "In a short look, he is everything that everybody said he was."Said Cox: "He's a good athlete and he has his head on straight. He hits the ball real good the other way."Padres second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. made a handful of nice plays. He made a diving stop of Escobar's grounder and threw him out leading off the second before taking several steps to his right to make a sliding stop of Heyward's grounder for the second out. He also made a leaping throw to first base after forcing Prado for the second out in the fifth, but his throw was too late to get Chipper Jones at first.
San Diego Chargers fullback Jacob Hester watched batting practice from a VIP area near the Atlanta dugout. The former LSU star was a Braves fan growing up in Louisiana. ... Cox, who is retiring at the end of the season, made his last trip to San Diego, one of his favorite cities. "I love San Diego," he said. "Everything is so nice. The weather -- it makes it happen here."