BRAVES 2, PADRES 1
ATLANTA — Kris Medlen allowed four hits over 7⅓ scoreless innings to win his fourth straight start, leading the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.
The Braves led 2-0 before Chase Headley hit a ninth-inning homer off closer Craig Kimbrel, who then pitched around a two-out walk to Ronny Cedeno for his career-best 47th save – the most in the majors.
Freddie Freeman had three hits, including a sixth-inning homer off Robbie Erlin (2-3), to help the Braves earn their first win of the season over the Padres. San Diego won the first four games of the season series.
The NL East-leading Braves began the night 10 games ahead of second-place Washington.
Medlen (14-12) has enjoyed a strong resurgence after a slow start. He went 1-6 over the first two months of the season.
Medlen, who had five strikeouts and two walks, was removed after allowing a bloop single to Will Venable with one out in the eighth. David Carpenter recorded the final two outs of the inning.
Kimbrel overcame Headley's leadoff homer in the ninth. After striking out Kyle Blanks and Tommy Medica, Kimbrel walked Cedeno. After pinch-runner Reymond Fuentes stole second base, Nick Hundley grounded out to end the game.
Erlin allowed two runs on eight hits and one walk in six innings.
The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Justin Upton, who led off with a single, scored on a two-out single to left field by Chris Johnson, who had two hits.
The Braves were denied a chance to extend their lead in the fifth when Elliot Johnson hit a two-out single and stole second. Upton singled to right field and Johnson, trying to score from second, was thrown out on right fielder Chris Denorfia's one-hop throw to the plate.
The Braves left the bases loaded in the seventh. Right-hander Dale Thayer, the Padres' third pitcher of the inning, struck out Evan Gattis to end the threat after Brad Boxberger and Tommy Layne combined to walk three batters.
San Diego's problems with walks continued in the eighth. With two outs, Andrelton Simmons doubled off Brad Brach, who then walked B.J. Upton and pinch-hitter Joey Terdoslavich. Brach struck out Elliot Johnson to end the inning.
There was a brief delay in the fifth inning when Medlen fouled a ball that hit home plate umpire Tom Hallion under his mask. The ball skimmed off catcher Nick Hundley's helmet before hitting Hallion, who remained in the game after being checked by Braves assistant trainer Jim Lovell.
Venable made a diving catch of Elliot Johnson's sinking liner in left-center in the first inning.
NOTES: Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Braves OF Jason Heyward, who took batting practice for the second straight day, could be sent to the Braves' Instructional League in Florida next week. Heyward's right jaw was fractured when hit by a pitch from the Mets' Jonathon Niese on Aug. 21, and he is hoping to return before the end of the regular season to prepare for the playoffs. ... B.J. Upton drew three walks. ... Gonzalez said RHP Brandon Beachy (inflammation right elbow) will begin light throwing on Monday or Tuesday. ... Braves RHP Julio Teheran will try for his 13th win against Padres RHP Burch Smith on Sunday.