Padres 7, Braves 3
He did just fine anyway.
The Padres scored three quick runs off Mike Hampton (0-3) and won for the ninth time in 12 games.
Hurt by injuries, the Braves were sloppy in the field early, but later turned a triple play.
“When you have a team that is hurting like them, you feel like you should definitely win two of three,” Lawrence said after the Padres accomplished the feat. “It does make it a little more comfortable out there.”
Lawrence (4-2) pitched seven solid innings in his longest outing of the season, topping the six innings he lasted against San Francisco on April 10. He allowed only five hits, including a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Julio Franco in the seventh.
“He kept the ball down and got his groundballs,” San Diego manager Bruce Bochy said. “It looked like he found himself out there.”
Of course, the lineup Lawrence faced was far from formidable. J.D. Drew, Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal all missed the game with injuries, and left fielder Chipper Jones still is on the disabled list with a partially torn hamstring.
That left Atlanta manager Bobby Cox with few options.
Regular third baseman Mark DeRosa moved to shortstop to replace Furcal, and Jesse Garcia took over for Giles at second. Center fielder Andruw Jones, who had more experience in the majors than the other fielders combined, was flanked by reserves Dewayne Wise and Damon Hollins.
Jones struck out three times and finished 0-for-11 in the series.
“It’s unbelievable,” Atlanta catcher Johnny Estrada said. “They could go 0-for-4, but just having the presence of them in our lineup makes everyone else better.
“The guys who’ve stepped in their place have been battling. But we just put ourselves in a hole early and I think some guys start pressing.”
The Padres had no such trouble. Greene led off the game with his first homer of the season, and Mark Loretta walked. He advanced to third on a single by Brian Giles, then scored when Phil Nevin grounded into a double play.
Payton followed with another home run to give San Diego a 3-0 lead.
“It’s crazy,” Hampton said. “I thought the pitches I made were pretty decent. The first home run, I thought it might drop in. And then the second one, I didn’t think it had a shot, either.
“I guess that’s baseball.”
The Braves helped their deficit grow by botching two double plays. In the third, DeRosa, who made four errors in a game earlier in the week, couldn’t get the ball out of his glove after forcing Nevin at second and eventually threw late to first, allowing Loretta to score.
Atlanta turned an around-the-horn triple play on a grounder by pinch-hitter Kerry Robinson in the eighth, drawing a mock cheer from the crowd of 26,137.
“We thought Robinson was a good guy to stay out of a double play. Well, we did that,” Bochy quipped.
Meanwhile, Hampton’s up-and-down season continued. In his previous start, he gave up only two runs in five innings to Colorado, but got tagged for six earned runs in 6 1-3 innings Thursday.
“He was trying to work both sides of the plate, but we were able to put his good pitches in play and then take advantage of his mistakes,” Giles said.
The Padres went ahead 7-0 in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Giles, who later scored on a double by Payton.
Jones scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 7-3.
The Braves turned their previous triple play Aug. 10, 2003, against St. Louis, when Furcal had an unassisted triple play. … Franco’s homer was the first as a pinch-hitter in his 20-year career. … Loretta finished 3-for-4with a walk and reached on an error. Giles also had three hits.