San Diego’s pitching staff has been strong all season, but over the last two games, it has been dominant.
The Padres are hoping that Justin Germano can continue that trend in his season debut and lead them to their longest winning streak of the season as they continue a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves Tuesday at Turner Field.
Chris Young gave up just two hits in six innings in Monday’s series-opening, 4-2 win over the Braves, one day after Jake Peavy lasted seven innings and allowed only one hit in a 3-1 win at Florida. San Diego’s relievers, meanwhile, have thrown five scoreless innings in the two victories.
The Padres (18-14) are sixth in the majors with a 3.47 team ERA, and their bullpen has posted a 2.38 ERA. Closer Trevor Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader with 491, has recorded a save in each of San Diego’s last three games.
“With our bullpen if you can turn it over with a lead, I’ll take my chances,” Young said.
The Padres, who have won three straight for the third time this season, called up Germano to start Tuesday in place of the injured Clay Hensley. Hensley left his start on Wednesday with a strained groin and was placed on the disabled list two days later.
Germano has gone 1-3 with an 8.04 ERA in nine career appearances, including six starts, with San Diego and Cincinnati but has never faced the Braves. He made one start last season while with the Reds, allowing four runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss at Milwaukee on July 29.
Germano was 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Portland.
The Braves (19-12) are also calling up a pitcher from the minors to make his season debut on Tuesday. Anthony Lerew, who went 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in five starts for Triple-A Richmond, will fill in for the injured Mark Redman, on the DL with a toe injury.
Lerew has made eight career relief appearances for the Braves, including one on Sept. 2, when he allowed five runs in two innings without receiving a decision at Philadelphia.
The Padres have won five of their last six games and trail the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in the NL West. Adrian Gonzalez homered and doubled Monday for San Diego, and Jose Cruz Jr. and Kevin Kouzmanoff also picked up RBIs.
Gonzalez has six homers and 19 RBIs in his last 16 games.
“We had some great at-bats,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “We laid off some good changeups. It wears down a starting pitcher when he has to make pitches.”
Chris Woodward went 2-for-3 with an RBI triple for the Braves, who are 4-3 on their current 10-game homestand. Woodward filled in for shortstop Edgar Renteria, who did not play because of flu symptoms.
If he is able to play, Renteria will try to extend his 15-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .362 (25-for-69) with 10 RBIs.