Until last month, San Diego’s Chris Young was one of the toughest road pitchers for much of the last two years.
Now, Young will try to avoid rare consecutive road losses as he makes his first start at Turner Field where the Padres open a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.
Young (3-2, 3.34 ERA) became just the second pitcher in major league history to go undefeated in 25 straight road starts before losing to the Dodgers in Los Angeles on April 15 when he lasted only two innings and allowed five runs, seven hits and five walks. After a win at Colorado, the right-hander lost again on the road, giving up six runs, six hits and three walks in a 7-4 loss to Arizona on April 26.
He hasn’t had consecutive road defeats since June 8-20, 2005 when he lost to Philadelphia and the Los Angeles Angels, respectively, while with Texas.
Young was much sharper in his most recent outing, giving up three hits with three walks over eight innings of Tuesday’s 3-0 home win over Washington.
“I thought Chris threw the ball well,” Padres manager Bud Black told team’s official Web site. “I thought his fastball had a lot of life in the hitting area. I thought he moved the ball well in and out. He snapped off a few good sliders, especially early in the game.”
Young, though, was 0-1 with a 19.50 ERA in two starts against Atlanta last year and surrendered six homers in six innings.
The Padres (17-14) have dropped four straight against the Braves (19-11), but San Diego comes into this game having won four of five overall including Sunday’s 3-1 win at Florida. Marcus Giles had two of the Padres’ five hits, and Jose Cruz Jr. and Terrmel Sledge each doubled in a run.
Giles will be facing the Braves for the first time since signing with San Diego as a free agent in the offseason. After spending his first six seasons in Atlanta, Giles is batting .328 with 20 runs and 16 RBIs as the Padres’ leadoff hitter.
Kelly Johnson, who replaced Giles at the top of Atlanta’s lineup, is hitting .314 with 27 runs and 17 RBIs.
Chuck James (3-2, 4.83) will start the opener for Atlanta. The right-hander gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings, but didn’t get a decision in a 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Despite getting only five runs of support in two home starts this season, James is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. In his only career start against the Padres, James got the win in a 10-5 victory on July 16.
The Braves beat the Dodgers 6-4 on Sunday for their third win in four games. Rookie Jarrod Saltalamacchia, called up from the minors Wednesday, picked up his first major league hit in the sixth inning and then knocked in the eventual game-winner for his first RBI the following inning.
Edgar Renteria went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs for Atlanta, and is hitting .362 (25-for-69) with 14 runs and 10 RBIs during a 15-game hitting streak.