Vazquez throws 7 strong innings in Braves’ 9-2 win

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—Two unlikely sources helped shake the Atlanta Braves from their offensive doldrums.

Martin Prado(notes) homered and drove in three runs and Matt Diaz(notes) hit a two-run homer to key a four-run sixth inning in the Braves’ 9-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

Atlanta tied its season high with 17 hits and surpassed the number of runs it had scored in its previous four games in support of Javier Vazquez(notes), who pitched seven strong innings.

“It’s nice to break out the bats a little bit and push some runs across,” said Adam LaRoche(notes), who tied his career high with four hits. “The last few losses haven’t been real good.”

Prado, the Braves’ No. 2 hitter, had 28 RBIs coming into the game, and Diaz, hitting in the eighth spot, had 26. But they each drove in two runs in the sixth inning as the Braves broke open the game and took a 7-2 lead.

“Prado’s an amazing hitter,” Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. “He’s just getting a chance to play as a regular and he is making some big plays.”

Diaz had an interesting night surrounding his home run with three double plays and a strikeout. The three double plays tied a franchise record, set three times and last done in 1955.

Adrian Gonzalez’s(notes) consecutive games streak of 314 games ended when the Padres’ All-Star was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game to give him extra rest. But unlike Monday night, when he extended the longest active streak by entering the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement, Gonzalez stayed on the bench.

“These two days were days that I talked to (manager) Buddy (Black) about taking off and letting my body heal after the All-Star Game and tough travel,” Gonzalez said. “It kind of caught up to me and I needed to let my body rest.”

Vazquez (9-7) had little trouble with the Padres, who lost for the just the second time in eight games.

The right-hander gave up a solo homer to rookie Will Venable(notes) in the first and Chase Headley’s(notes) RBI double in the fourth. He held San Diego to two runs and four hits.

“It’s just great to have some run support,” he said. “Plus, I’ve always pitched well in this stadium. It’s a nice ballpark to pitch in.”

Vazquez won his fourth consecutive decision while Atlanta has won his last six starts. Mike Gonzalez(notes) and Boone Logan(notes) finished the four-hitter for the Braves, who won for the fifth time in 12 games.

“We have to start winning games,” Vazquez said. “All the games we win now are important.”

Prado hit a solo homer in the fifth off Tim Stauffer(notes) (1-3) to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. Garrett Anderson had three hits and two RBIs, and LaRoche also walked and had an RBI. Anderson’s second-inning single broke an 0-for-16 skid.

Venable maintained his recent hot streak with a solo homer in the first, two walks and two runs scored. Venable is 11 for 23 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and six runs scored in the past six games, and has raised his average from .204 to .259 in the stretch.

The Braves broke the game open in the sixth against reliever Edward Mujica(notes) when Diaz hit a two-run homer into the right-field porch and Prado followed two batters later with a two-run single.

Stauffer gave up three runs and eight hits in five innings.

NOTES: LaRoche has had four hits in a game nine times in his career, the last on April 22 against Florida when he played for Pittsburgh. … When LaRoche homered Monday for Atlanta, he became the fourth player in 10 years to hit a home run for three different teams (Pittsburgh, Boston) in one season and having played in both leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … Padres C Nick Hundley(notes) (bruised left wrist) is scheduled to go on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Portland on Wednesday. Hundley is expected to play five or six games with the Beavers, according to Black.

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