Werner shows MLB debut no fluke, but Padres stifled

Werner shows MLB debut no fluke, but Padres stifled

Werner shows MLB debut no fluke, but Padres stifled
SAN DIEGO -- The unstoppable force that was the Padres over their eight-game winning streak ran into an immovable object Tuesday in Braves starter Kris Medlen - and Medlen didn't budge.

The young righty dazzled the Padres for the second time in as many August starts against them, keeping the entire San Diego lineup off balance through eight masterful innings in which he scattered five hits and struck out a career-high nine batters en route to a 2-0 victory at Petco Park. This was the second straight scoreless outing for Medlen against San Diego, as he puzzled the Padres through nine innings at Turner Field in his first career complete game on Aug. 16.

"He got us over there, and he repeated it over here," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Three-pitch mix, good fastball, both sides of the plate, change very effective. He's got a very good changeup for a young pitcher ... he and [catcher Brian] McCann did a very good job of mixing pitches."

"He kept the ball down," Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "When the ball's down, it makes it very very difficult, especially the way we've been hitting. We've been hitting well. He made a lot of good pitches today, and it was right from the get-go, too, so it was tough."

While Medlen wouldn't give an inch to the Padres offense, San Diego starter Andrew Werner did his best not to bend to the Braves' attack, either. Working in just his second Major League start, Werner threw six innings and yielded just two runs, one of them in the first inning on a Chipper Jones RBI double deep in the right-center-field gap that looked to be a catchable ball for right fielder Will Venable.

The other run came on a fifth-inning home run by Dan Uggla, who clobbered one of Werner's few mistakes, a hanging changeup, deep over the left-field fence for his 16th homer of the year and 1,000th career hit.

"I just tried to keep the team in the game. There's one pitch I'd really like back against Uggla because a one-run game is completely different than a two-run game," Werner said. "I just tried to fill it up and see what happens, and it just wasn't good enough."

Though it came in a loss, Werner's performance marked the sixth straight quality start for San Diego, the team's eighth in the last nine games. Werner also showed improvement from his first MLB outing in which he walked four and struck out just two. The 25-year-old struck out seven Braves and walked none Tuesday.

"I thought that his fastball had a little bit better velocity tonight for whatever reason. He handled their left-handed hitters very well," Black said.

"Last time out, I hadn't pitched in a while, so I definitely didn't have one of my better fastballs," said Werner. "But today I was a lot better locating glove-side to lefties and had a little bit of run. So couple that with the slider and it was pretty effective."

Despite his effectiveness, Werner took the tough-luck loss, though he deserved a better fate. As un-hittable as Medlen was, San Diego didn't exactly help itself in a game that saw no Padres runner reach second base. The Padres got hits in each of the first three innings, and two in the sixth, but Medlen picked off Everth Cabrera in the third and pinch-hitter Alexi Amarista in the sixth to stop a couple would-be rallies in their tracks.

"Young guy, quick feet, firm, accurate throws to first," Black said. "Cabby -- basestealer trying to make something happen. And I think Lexi just got caught with his head down just for that moment. ... He's aware that we're second in the National League in stolen bases, and he wasn't going to let us run."

Just as Werner kept the stretch of good Padres' starting pitching intact in the loss, the San Diego bullpen held up its end of the bargain yet again with three scoreless innings.

Nick Vincent got four outs to extend his clean streak to 7 2/3 innings, and lefty Tommy Layne got two outs to run his scoreless stretch to seven innings. Layne has yet to give up a run since being called up to the big leagues on Aug. 14, and has retired 22 of the 24 batters he's faced in that stretch.

Ultimately, despite strong Padres pitching from start to finish, Medlen's stifling stuff proved the undoing of San Diego's season-high streak, as he ran his personal streak to 28 1/3 scoreless innings. Still, Black believes Medlen didn't stop his team's roll, but merely slowed it momentarily.

The players "know how they're playing; they're playing good," the manager said. "We played well tonight. We got beat by a guy that out-pitched our guy. They'll come out tomorrow and play. Our guys are playing with great intent."

Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.