Braves 5, Padres 4

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—All-Star Brian McCann’s big night against Greg Maddux made a huge difference for the Atlanta Braves.

McCann homered and drove in four runs against Maddux to lead the Braves to a 5-4 win Sunday night over the San Diego Padres.

San Diego rallied for three runs in the ninth inning and had runners on first and second when Marcus Giles took a called third strike to end the game.

Kelly Johnson also homered and Andruw Jones went 3-for-3 and scored two runs for the Braves, who took two of three from the NL West-leading Padres to go into the break two games behind the New York Mets in the NL East.

The Padres, trying for their third straight division title, have a one-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego enters the break with an NL-best 49-38 record. They lead the NL West at the break for the sixth time club history. The previous five times, they went on to win the division.

McCann, meanwhile, came into the game in a 4-for-25 skid.

“It’s been up and down,” said McCann, the NL’s backup catcher for Tuesday night’s All-Star game. “But there’s two halves to the season and I can still end up helping this team win. Hopefully I can do something in the second half with the bat.”

The Braves went 6-4 on a bi-coastal road trip. The Padres lost for the fifth time in eight games.

San Diego scored three times in the ninth inning to cut it to 5-4. Michael Barrett, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Brian Giles had run-scoring hits off Bob Wickman before Marcus Giles struck out looking to end the game.

The Padres weren’t happy with home plate umpire CB Bucknor’s calls.

“It was a ball,” Marcus Giles said after watching replays. “Judging by the overhead, it was about four to five inches. It hit the white line in the other batter’s box.

“But, who knows? I don’t really want to say any more about the calls because I don’t want to stick my foot in my mouth. I don’t want to get that mean publicly.”

Manager Bud Black stopped short, too.

“I think there were some questionable calls tonight. I guess you can say that about every game,” Black said. “Tonight it looked as though … I’ll leave it at that.”

Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said Wickman looked great the first three batters of the ninth.

“I thought he was breezing, but every ball they hit wasn’t near anybody,” Cox said.

Maddux (7-6), who pitched for the Braves from 1993-2003, failed to get an out in the sixth before he was chased by McCann’s two-run single to center that made it 5-1.

Given a 3-0 lead in the second on homers by McCann and Johnson, Kyle Davies (4-7) ended his career-worst streak of four straight losing decisions. He held San Diego to one run and four hits in six innings while striking out six and walking one.

After Andruw Jones opened the second with a walk, McCann homered off the top of the out-of-town scoreboard on the right-field wall, his ninth. Maddux struck out Jeff Francoeur, then served up Johnson’s homer down the right-field line on a full-count pitch, also his ninth.

Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones singled opening the sixth, and McCann brought them both in with a base hit.

That was it for the 41-year-old Maddux, who has lost three of his last four decisions. He allowed five runs and six hits, struck out two and walked two.

San Diego got its first run when Adrian Gonzalez walked with two outs in the third and scored on Mike Cameron’s double to left-center.


Maddux is 340-209 in his career. … Making his second start for the Padres, LF Milton Bradley made a nice catch of Willie Harris’ long foul ball leading off the game, sliding into the wall down the left-field line. … Braves RHP John Smoltz, who will miss the All-Star game due to inflammation in his pitching shoulder, is scheduled to start the Braves’ sixth game back from the break, July 18 at Cincinnati. That’s the day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list. … The Padres’ tentative rotation coming out of the break will be Maddux, Chris Young, ace Jake Peavy, lefty David Wells and Justin Germano. When manager Bud Black informed Maddux that he’s due to start Friday night at Arizona, the 41-year-old said: “Cool—I’m pitching back-to-back games.” … Peavy, Young and closer Trevor Hoffman are San Diego’s All-Stars.

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