Uptons, Kimbrel help SD rally past Atlanta

Uptons, Kimbrel help SD rally past Atlanta

ATLANTA -- The bullpen cost the Braves again in a 5-3 11-inning loss to the Padres on Monday in game one of a four-game series at Turner Field.

Former Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel faced the Braves for the first time in the bottom of the 11th, and retired the side in order to secure the San Diego win and get career save No. 200.

"Everybody was talking this afternoon [and saying] that Craig wasn't right, his numbers weren't right," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He looked pretty darn good there. That [11th] inning looked like the guy that saves a lot of games for the Atlanta Braves."

Justin Upton and Melvin Upton Jr. returned to Atlanta for the first time this season, and welcomed themselves back to town by scoring the tying run in the ninth (Upton Jr. as a pinch-runner) and go-ahead run in the 11th (Upton after a leadoff walk).

Former Braves shine in Atlanta

Gonzalez pulled starting pitcher Shelby Miller with a 3-1 lead after seven innings and 94 pitches before Jim Johnson and Jason Grilli both let leadoff doubles score in the eighth and ninth innings and allow the Padres to climb back in it.

Gonzalez said the decision to pull Miller was not because of a collision with first baseman Freddie Freeman in the first inning, or concerns about his pitch count.

"We're just going along, [I'm] talking to [Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell] and he goes, 'It's humid, it's hot, it's been a couple of high stress innings … let's get him out of there,'" Gonzalez said.

The bullpen spoiled an excellent bounceback start from Miller -- who entered Monday night third in the National League with a 1.89 ERA. He was coming off of his shortest outing of the season and allowed just one run. Miller worked around five hits and one walk, while striking out six. Upton and Matt Kemp combined to go 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against him.

Freeman and Miller collide

"I felt good," Miller said. "That's what we got the rosin for ... when you're sweating and the humidity's a little stronger. You know it's Atlanta, it's always going to be hot. [I'm] from Texas, I'm used to pitching in hot weather so I really enjoy it. I'd rather pitch in this kind of weather than being cold."

San Diego starter Ian Kennedy looked good in this one with the exception the third inning, where he allowed four straight one-out hits to the top of the Braves lineup. That cost Kennedy and the Padres their one-run lead. After reaching 107 pitches in just five innings, the right-hander was pulled in favor of the bullpen.

Spangenberg's sac fly in 9th


Braves bullpen strikes again: Atlanta entered Monday's game with the worst bullpen ERA (4.86) in the National League. Johnson and Grilli combining for two innings and two runs that sent the game into extra innings. Combined, the bullpen allowed four runs over four innings. More >

Upton Jr. advances on error

(Ex-)Padres hitting Padres: Former San Diego players Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin got the Braves started with back-to-back singles in the third inning, which helped Atlanta take a 3-1 lead after an RBI single from Freeman and an RBI double from Nick Markakis. Before the game Peterson said about Kennedy: "Seeing him and playing behind him, I know what kind of stuff he's got."

Maybin's RBI single

Road warrior: Second baseman Cory Spangenberg continued to rake on the road, turning on a 1-2 cutter from Miller for a two-out, run-scoring double in the second inning. Spangenberg entered the game hitting .292 (19-for-65) away from Petco Park. More >

Spangenberg's RBI double

(Non) fleet Freeman feet: A baserunning error from Freeman proved costly when the Braves first baseman was unable to avoid a ground ball from Juan Uribe that could have driven in a run or more in the seventh inning. Instead the inning ended there and three Braves were stranded on base.

Inning ends after hit baserunner


"I know this. When you change teams, there's a little different feeling that first time back when you're facing your ex-teammates. It's a very different feeling. You want to play well." -- Padres manager Bud Black, on good nights from Upton, Upton Jr., Kimbrel, and Atlanta's Peterson and Maybin, all involved in offseason trades between the two teams.

"I think you go in there, especially tomorrow, you go in there and you're the same guy. I'm the same guy, our coaches have to be the same people and just keep battling, keep your head up." -- Gonzalez, on keeping morale up in the clubhouse.

Kimbrel, Kemp on Padres' 5-3 win


Monday's game marked the fifth time in 10 starts this season that Kennedy has thrown at least 100 pitches. Last season, in 33 starts (13-13, 3.63 ERA), he threw at least 100 pitches 21 times, was in the 90s 11 times and threw his season-low, 88, the other time.


Padres: James Shields will try to keep his perfect record intact (7-0, 3.58 ERA) in the second game of a four-game series between the Padres and Braves on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET/4:10 p.m. PT. The San Diego lineup is helping out its new offseason acquisition; the Padres are averaging 7.17 runs a game in Shields starts. Shields is the first San Diego starter to go 7-0 since Andy Hawkins in 1985.

Braves: Mike Foltynewicz takes the mound for the Braves in the second matchup between Atlanta and San Diego. In his last start against the D-backs, Foltynewicz failed to record seven or more strikeouts for the first since May 1, his first start of the season. He had gone five straight starts with at least seven strikeouts before Arizona struck out just five times.

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Carlos Collazo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. John Donovan is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.