Padres use Juan Soto’s HR to edge Braves

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Soto smacked a 431-foot homer and starter Nick Martinez and three relievers combined to throw a four-hit shutout to lift the San Diego Padres to a 1-0 victory over the visiting Braves on Wednesday, snapping Atlanta’s eight-game winning streak.

Soto, who entered the game hitting only .175, led off the fourth by lining a 1-1 sinker from Braves starter Charlie Morton (2-2) into the seats in right center to provide the game’s only run.

Martinez (1-1) allowed three hits and two walks with six strikeouts over seven innings to get the win. Josh Hader picked up his fifth save of the season as the Padres snapped a three-game losing streak.

Morton gave up the one run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings.

A leaping catch at the wall by Atlanta center fielder Sam Hilliard in the fifth robbed Manny Machado of a two-run homer against Morton in a game highlighted by excellent defense by both teams.

Martinez worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the third. After Vaughn Grissom flew out to open the inning, Hilliard and Kevin Pillar hit back-to-back singles and Ronald Acuna Jr. drew a walk. But Matt Olson popped out to Machado behind third and Martinez struck out Austin Riley.

The Padres had one other golden opportunity against Morton after Soto’s homer. Xander Bogaerts followed with a single and reached third on Jake Cronenworth’s double into the right field corner. But Morton struck out Ha-Seong Kim and closed the inning by getting Austin Nola to fly out.

Martinez retired the last 12 Braves he faced after Sean Murphy drew a leadoff walk in the fourth.

The only other hit off Martinez was Acuna’s single leading off the first. Acuna stole second but was eliminated in an unusual double play when Riley grounded to Machado. Acuna was tagged out in a rundown between second and third by Machado, who then threw to first, catching Riley off the bag.

The Braves threatened in the top of the eighth when Hilliard dropped a leadoff single to right in front of a diving Jose Azocar, then stole second. But reliever Luis Garcia struck out Pillar and Acuna and Tim Hill came on to retire Olson on a grounder to first.

–Field Level Media

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