SAN DIEGO -- Each time he pitches, it's a learning experience, Andrew Cashner says.
On Tuesday, though, Cashner taught the Atlanta Braves a few tricks of the trade.
Chase Headley homered and Cashner prevailed in a pitchers' duel with Tim Hudson as the San Diego Padres defeated the Braves 3-2 at Petco Park.
Cashner got off to a shaky start, giving up a run and three hits in the first before taking command from the second inning on.
"The biggest thing is (leaning) on my changeup, when to throw it and when not to throw it," said the 26-year-old right-hander, who pitched a career-high eight innings and allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and a walk. "That's kind of been a pitch that's come back to (help) me when I need to throw my four-seamer.
"Every time I go out there, I'm learning. I felt my breaking ball was a lot better tonight. I thought that was the biggest key tonight, being able to throw three pitches."
Carlos Quentin's RBI single in the third turned out to be the difference as the Padres (31-34) captured their 17th victory in the past 24 games at Petco. San Diego beat Atlanta (39-26) for the second consecutive night.
The Braves cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth when Jason Heyward scored after Freddie Freeman grounded into a double play, but Cashner and the San Diego bullpen blanked the Braves the rest of the way. Joe Thatcher struck out Freeman and Brian McCann in the ninth before Luke Gregerson fanned Dan Uggla for his third save.
"(Cashner) throws 95, 96 (mph). Has got a changeup that he can throw whenever he wants," Freeman said. "We got him on the ropes, but I grounded into a double play and killed a rally. You have to take advantage of those, and I didn't do it."
Said Padres manager Bud Black, "Great game by 'Cash.' Not only the performance, but the effort to pitch eight innings saved a few guys from the 'pen from warming up, which was much needed. He threw the ball well. He keeps growing, and every start he makes is a learning experience for him. I can't be more happy with his progress."
Cashner (5-3) set down 10 straight batters until allowing a run in the sixth, then retired the next seven hitters. He said he relied more on his fastball after the first, and the plan paid dividends.
Hudson gave up a run in each of the first three innings before settling down and retiring 13 in a row from the third until the eighth. After yielding a run-scoring single to Quentin in the third for a 3-1 Padres lead, Hudson didn't allow another hit until pinch hitter Jesus Guzman beat out an infield hit to lead off the eighth.
Hudson (4-6) worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out seven and walked one.
"Probably one of my top two or three games, stuff-wise," Hudson said. "I made a couple of bad pitches and somehow gave up three runs. They took advantage of them -- the home run and then (the pitch) to Quentin with a man in scoring position."
Freeman's two-out single to center scored Andrelton Simmons for a 1-0 Atlanta lead in the first.
The Padres tied the score in the bottom of the inning when Headley lined a 2-2 pitch from Hudson into the seats in right with two outs for his fifth homer. It also snapped a string of 51 at-bats without an extra-base hit for Headley.
The Padres took the lead for good in the second when Nick Hundley blooped an RBI single down the left field line. The ball dropped in front of left fielder Justin Upton, scoring Kyle Blanks for a 2-1 advantage.
NOTES: Padres CF Cameron Maybin will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday after tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Maybin suffered the injury Sunday when he dived for a fly ball at Colorado. Maybin said he expects to miss from six to 10 weeks. ... Rookie Evan Gattis' ninth-inning home run Monday was the sixth pinch-hit long ball for the Braves, who lead the majors in that category. Gattis leads all rookies in homers with 14. ... Padres RHP Nick Vincent was recalled Tuesday from Triple-A Tucson. To make room, the club optioned RHP Burch Smith to the minors. ... Padres RHP Huston Street (strained left calf) could be activated from the disabled list by this weekend, Black said. Street will make a rehab appearance for Class A Lake Elsinore on Wednesday. ... The game drew a crowd of 22,320.