Atlanta (45-41) at San Diego (48-36)

Cloudy Currently: San Diego, CA
Temp: 70° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Fri Jul 6, 2007
  • TV: TBS, Ch4
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves are trying to use a surging offense to gain ground in the NL East. The San Diego Padres, meanwhile, are clinging to a slim lead in their division despite struggling at the plate.

The Braves look to continue their success when they open a three-game series with the Padres on Friday at Petco Park.

Atlanta (45-41) has won seven of its last 10 games, averaging 6.7 runs and batting .319 during that stretch. The Braves are coming off a four-game split with the Los Angeles Dodgers, including an 8-6 win in Thursday’s finale when they recorded double digits in hits for the seventh time in nine games.

Chipper Jones broke open a tie game by homering from each side of the plate to reach 372 for his career, moving him past Dale Murphy on the Braves’ all-time list.

“When you think about people that are identified with the Atlanta Braves, you think of Hank Aaron and you think of Murph,” said the third baseman, who leads Atlanta with a .329 batting average and 15 home runs. “Just to be in the same breath with those guys - Hank, Murph, Eddie Mathews, it’s a tremendous honor. I’ve been very blessed.”

Jones has been especially successful on the road, hitting .364 there as opposed to .286 at home. Those types of numbers have helped the Braves stay within three games of the division-leading New York Mets.

While the Braves’ offense has been tough to stop, San Diego’s can’t seem to get going. The Padres (48-36) have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 15 games and are batting .213 over that span.

They split their recent four-game series with the Florida Marlins, including a 3-2 defeat on Thursday when they mustered just three hits for the second time in the set. San Diego went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, but held its one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

“I think the potential’s there. It’s not happening right now,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “But I do think we’re seeing signs of guys swinging the bats better. We’re hoping to turn it around.”

The Padres have dropped nine of their last 13 games at home and have lost their last four meetings there with the Braves. Atlanta won three of four games between these teams May 7-10 and has won 11 of the last 14 overall matchups.

The Braves will hand the ball to Buddy Carlyle (2-2, 4.74 ERA), who will be facing his former team. The right-hander spent his first two seasons with San Diego, going 1-3 with a 7.08 ERA in 11 games—including seven starts—in 1999 and 2000.

He made one career relief appearance versus the Padres on April 21, 2005, allowing one run and two hits over 1 1-3 innings. Carlyle pitched three scoreless innings and allowed just one hit on Sunday before a lengthy rain delay forced him out of Atlanta’s 6-5, 10-inning defeat to Florida.

He will be opposed by Justin Germano (5-2, 3.12), who is trying to avoid losing his third straight decision. The right-hander went 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in his first seven starts, but has since gone 0-2 with a 4.82 ERA in three outings.

He hasn’t gotten a single run of support during that skid, however, including a 5-0 defeat to the Dodgers on Sunday. Germano allowed five runs and eight hits, including two homers, over a season-high 6 2-3 innings.

Germano made his first start of the season on May 8 against the Braves, earning a no-decision when he held them to one run and three hits over six innings.

Padres right-hander Chris Young (8-3, 2.00) won the online voting for the final spot on the NL All-Star team on Thursday, the same day he began serving a five-game suspension for his part in a June 16 brawl with the Chicago Cubs.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Carlyle NYM vs. J. Germano Tex
8-7 Record 7-10
5.21 ERA 4.46
74 K 78
32 BB 40
1.39 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Friday, Jul 6