Padres rookie shuts down Braves in debut

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SAN DIEGO — It was a frustrating night for the Atlanta Braves, the NL wild-card leaders who mustered only four hits against the San Diego Padres.

Three of them came off Casey Kelly, who was making his major league debut.

“We actually hit a lot of balls hard, but they made the plays and made the pitches when they had to,” second baseman Dan Uggla said after the Braves’ 3-0 loss to the Padres. “Sometimes, it’s just not in the cards for you.”

Kelly combined with three relievers on a four-hitter to win his major league debut and Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer for the Padres, who extended their season-high streak to eight consecutive wins.

The 22-year-old Kelly was the key player among the four obtained from the Boston Red Sox in the trade for Adrian Gonzalez on Dec. 6, 2010.

Kelly also got his first big league hit, a single up the middle with two outs in the fifth. The Padres loaded the bases before Chase Headley struck out.

Pat Kelly was at Petco Park to watch his son’s debut. Pat Kelly, who played in three games with Toronto in 1980, is a former manager of the Braves’ Triple-A team and currently manages the Reds’ Rookie-level team in Billings, Mont.

Kelly (1-0), promoted from Double-A San Antonio earlier Monday, allowed three hits in six innings, struck out four and walked two. He was out from April 12-July 23 with a strained right elbow.

Kelly allowed a double down the right-field line to Jason Heyward with two outs in the first and then got Chipper Jones to line out to Headley at third. Kelly walked Freddie Freeman leading off the second and then allowed Uggla’s one-out single before retiring the next two batters.

The Braves hit into double plays in each of the next two innings, one started by Kelly, and the right-hander had 1-2-3 fifth and sixth innings.

“He made his pitches, hit his spots,” Uggla said. “He didn’t really leave anything over the middle of the plate. He got the outs when he needed to and threw the pitches that he wanted us to swing at.”

Grandal drove in all three runs for San Diego. He homered to left off Paul Maholm for a 2-0 lead in the second, his sixth. Carlos Quentin was aboard on a leadoff walk. Grandal singled in Headley in the eighth inning before being thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his second save in five chances.

Maholm (11-9) allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, struck out five and walked one.

San Diego’s winning streak is its longest since April 16-24, 2010.


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