Freeman, Soroka lift Braves to 4-1 win, sweep of Padres
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning and All-Star rookie Mike Soroka struck out a career-high nine to win his 10th straight decision for the Atlanta Braves, who beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
The NL East-leading Braves have won seven of eight.
Soroka (10-1) lost his season debut on April 18 against Atlanta but has won each of his last 10 decisions since April 24, a span of 15 starts.
He got Sunday’s decision thanks to Freeman’s shot deep to right field off Trey Wingenter (1-2) with two outs in the eighth. Matt Joyce pinch-hit for Soroka with one out in the inning and singled to right. Ronald Acuna Jr. followed with a single to right. Dansby Swanson struck out before Freeman hit his 24th homer. Josh Donaldson walked, stole second and scored on Nick Markakis’ single to center.
Soroka allowed six hits in seven scoreless innings and walked one. His previous strikeout high was eight in a 3-1 home win against San Diego on April 29. The 21-year-old made five starts in 2018.
Atlanta’s bullpen faltered a bit in the eighth, when the Padres got a run on Josh Naylor’s two-out, bases-loaded single to center. Chad Sobotka, the third pitcher that inning, came on and struck out pinch-hitter Hunter Renfroe on a full-count pitch to end the threat.
A.J. Minter pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Acuna, the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year, made a brilliant leaping catch to rob Manny Machado of a two-run home run to end the fifth. Acuna hit the fence in center field as he made the catch and then tumbled to the warning track with the ball in his glove and his cap flying off his head. Soroka looked toward Acuna, pumped his right fist and tipped his cap.
The showdown between Soroka (Calgary) and Padres rookie Cal Quantrill (Port Hope) was the first between Canadian-born starters since Boston’s Ryan Dempster faced Minnesota’s Scott Diamond on May 18, 2013.
Soroka was hit by a pitch by Quantrill in the third but stayed in the game.
Quantrill held the Braves to three hits in six scoreless innings, struck out three and walked one.
During a video review of Acuna’s stolen base in the sixth, all three Padres outfielders plus third baseman Machado and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. were chatting with the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year. They had 1 minute, 43 seconds to visit as the call was upheld.
Braves: LHP Max Fried (9-4, 4.29) is scheduled to start Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Milwaukee, which will counter with Adrian Houser (2-3, 4.01).
Padres: Haven’t announced starter for Tuesday night’s series opener at Miami. The Marlins are scheduled to start RHP Jordan Yamamoto (3-0, 1.24).