SAN DIEGO — Once he got through a shaky first inning, rookie Tommy Hanson put on a decent show for the 100 or so friends and family members who watched his first big league start in Southern California.
Hanson shut down San Diego long enough for his teammates to get a comfortable lead against Chad Gaudin and the Atlanta Braves beat the Padres 6-2 on Wednesday.
Hanson couldn’t totally block out the fact that he was pitching some two hours from his home in Redlands, in San Bernardino County.
"I heard some familiar voices and stuff like that yelling, which was kind of funny, but I was just trying to focus on the game and do the best I can," Hanson said.
Three Padres batters reached in the first and none scored. Leadoff batter Everth Cabrera walked and was thrown out by catcher Brian McCann trying to steal second. Will Venable hit a chopper for an infield single and Adrian Gonzalez walked before Kevin Kouzmanoff hit the first of his three double-play balls, which tied the club record.
"I kind of knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to get through that first inning, my first one back home," Hanson said. "It worked out where I got out of there with no runs, and after that I felt a lot better."
Hanson (6-2) held San Diego to two hits through five scoreless innings before faltering in his last inning, the sixth. He allowed Cabrera’s one-out double before Venable hit a towering home run down the right-field line to pull the Padres to 6-2. Gonzalez followed with a single and was erased when Kouzmanoff hit his third double-play ball.
Hanson left almost 60 tickets and said he knew another 40 people who bought tickets.
"That first inning I was trying to find my release point and I think I was nibbling a little bit and not being aggressive enough," he said.
"I had some stuff kind of working, but it wasn’t my best day. But I just kind of battled through it and got out of there from one through six."
Atlanta’s 14 hits were all singles. Nate McLouth and Chipper Jones had three apiece, and each Braves regular had at least one hit. The Braves won two of three and are probably sad to leave Petco Park. They tied their season high with 17 hits in a 9-2 win on Tuesday night.
"They came out swinging today," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They have some good hitters in there, some veteran, experienced hitters. If you’re not on your game, they can do what they’ve done the last couple of nights."
Atlanta turned four double plays overall.
It was Venable’s sixth homer overall and fifth in his last seven games, a span in which he also has 12 RBIs and seven runs scored.
Gaudin (4-10) allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.
"He couldn’t string any pitches together," Black said. "One good one, one bad. A lot of deep counts and if he made a good pitch they seemed to foul it off."
Garret Anderson hit an RBI single in the first. McLouth singled in a run in the second and Martin Prado followed with a sacrifice fly. McLouth had another RBI single with one out in the fourth and Prado followed with a single to chase Gaudin. Luis Perdomo came on and allowed Jones’ third base hit and a two-run single to Brian McCann that gave the Braves a 6-0 lead.
"I was nibbling and not establishing the fastball early," Gaudin said. "I wasn’t commanding it. You have to stay aggressive and show the team that you’re going to be around the zone and make them hit your pitch."
San Diego’s Chase Headley tripled leading off the fifth and was thrown out at home by Ryan Church on Kyle Blanks’ fly ball to right. Replays showed Headley was safe.NOTES: On Tuesday night, Matt Diaz became the first Braves player since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966 to homer and hit into three double plays in the same game, according to research by the Elias Sports Bureau. The last big leaguer to do that was Scott Rolen for St. Louis against Cincinnati on Aug. 27, 2002.