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Saturday July 31st, 2021 8:18AM

Tatis, Paddack lead Padres past Braves in twinbill opener

By The Associated Press
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ATLANTA (AP) — Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a two-run homer, starter Chris Paddack reversed his recent struggles and the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday.

Tatis made it 3-0 in the fifth inning against reliever Shane Greene when his NL-leading 29th homer landed in the left-field seats. The All-Star shortstop has eight hits, seven runs scored and six RBIs in his last five games.

Paddack (6-6), who had a 10.31 ERA in his last five appearances, worked five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with no walks and one strikeout.

“I’m going to continue to build on this, continue to grow, continue to put my head down and tomorrow is day one of five days," Paddack said. “I’m not trying to get ahead of myself here. We did a lot of great things today, but there’s still some improvements for my changeup. You know, 0-2 curveballs that we could’ve done a better job with. There’s always something you have to grow on."

All-Star closer Mark Melancon wrapped it up for the Padres in the seventh, earning his major league-leading 28th save in 32 chances.

The Padres went ahead 1-0 in the fourth when Jurickson Profar doubled off the right-field wall with one out, advanced on Kyle Muller’s second wild pitch and scored on Ha-Seong Kim’s sacrifice fly.

“I think my tempo was a little fast, so I was just rushing down the mound," Muller said. “Early on my sliders were biting a little bit more because I had adrenaline and my arm speed was moving, but they flattened out and started spinning the opposite way as the game went on.

“That’s something I need to control. I can’t go 90 pitches in four innings. That’s not good enough to help the team win right there."

Muller (1-3) allowed two hits and walked three, working out of jams in the first and third. Greene, who came on to start the fifth, saw his ERA increase to 10.38.

The Braves got within 3-2 in the sixth against Drew Pomeranz when Freddie Freeman singled, advanced on Ozzie Albies’ double and scored on a passed ball. Albies scored on Austin Riley’s sacrifice fly.

Paddack retired the first five batters he faced before Guillermo Heredia singled in the second. Kevan Smith got the second hit off Paddack in the bottom of the third but was stranded at third base.

“The story for me today was Paddack and how good and how efficient he was,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “Using all the quadrants of the zone and just aggressive. I think he kind of set the tone. He got the win, but he put us in a good position at the end of the game. Overall, really nice to get this one.”

San Diego had dropped four of six and began the day third in the NL West, 5 1/2 games back of first-place San Francisco. The Braves entered the doubleheader 3 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East.

SCORING WOES

The Braves have scored nine total runs in their last eight doubleheader games.

FLASH THAT LEATHER

Profar made a diving catch on a headfirst slide in center field to rob pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte in the fifth.

UP NEXT

Braves RHP Bryse Wilson (2-3, 5.34 ERA) faces RHP Reiss Knehr (0-0, 4.91) in the second game of the doubleheader. Wilson and Knehr were both called up from Triple-A to serve as their teams' 27th man.

RHP Charlie Morton (8-3, 3.69) will pitch opposite Matt Moore (0-1, 5.25) when Atlanta begins a four-game series at Philadelphia on Thursday. San Diego, which opens a four-game series at Miami, has yet to announce a starter and neither have the Marlins.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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