San Diego Padres starting pitcher Edinson Volquez pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning Wednesday. AP photo.
SAN DIEGO — Edinson Volquez struck out a season-high nine in seven innings as he rebounded from the worst start of his career and led the San Diego Padres to a 5-3 victory over the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves on Wednesday and a three-game sweep.
Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer for the Padres, who have won six of eight. They swept the Braves in San Diego for the first time since May 19-21, 2005. The Braves, who’ve lost five of seven, were swept for just the second time this season. The first was at Detroit April 26-28.
Denorfia homered to left field with one out in the fifth off Paul Maholm, his third. Everth Cabrera was on second after hitting a single and stealing his 30th base, tops in the majors.
Volquez (5-5) bounced back after allowing nine runs and 11 hits, both career highs, in just 2 1-3 innings in a 10-9 loss at Colorado on Friday. He held the Braves to one run and six hits and walked three. His nine strikeouts were his most since Aug. 20.
In his previous two starts, Volquez had allowed a combined 13 earned runs and 17 hits in just 7 1-3 innings.
Rookie Nick Vincent, the third Padres’ pitcher in the ninth, struck out Justin Upton looking for the final out with runners on first and third for his first career save. It was his first opportunity this season and second of his career.
Luke Gregerson got the first two outs but also allowed Jordan Schafer’s RBI single and was pulled when the Padres couldn’t turn a double play on Andrelton Simmons’ grounder. Lefty Tommy Layne came on to face Jason Heyward, who singled up the middle to move Simmons to third.
Paul Maholm (7-5) loaded the bases three times, including twice in the three-run first and for a final time with two outs in the sixth before making way for David Carpenter.
Maholm allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2-3 innings while striking out three and walking four.
Maholm gave up three singles and two walks in the first, including a bases-loaded walk to Kyle Blanks with one out followed by Logan Forsythe’s two-run single. After Jesus Guzman singled to load the bases again, Yasmani Grandal lined to shortstop and Forsythe was doubled off second. One of the runs was unearned due to second baseman Dan Uggla’s throwing error.
Justin Upton drove in Atlanta first two runs, including hitting his 15th homer, a solo shot with one out in the eighth off Joe Thatcher. The ball went an estimated 430 feet, landing in the balcony on the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse and bouncing into the second deck in left field. Upton hit an RBI single in the third.
NOTES: This was San Diego’s fifth sweep this season. ... The Padres are off Thursday before opening a three-game series against NL West-leading Arizona on Friday night. Scheduled starters are RHP Trevor Cahill (3-7, 4.01) for Arizona vs. LHP Eric Stults (5-5, 3.53) for San Diego. ... Atlanta returns home for an off-day Thursday before opening a three-game series against San Francisco. The probables are LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.58) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (3-6, 2.87). ... Kevin Brown is among 19 players and coaches from the Padres’ 1998 World Series team set to be honored Friday night. Brown left the Padres after that season to sign a $105 million contract with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Among other players scheduled to appear are Tony Gwynn, Andy Ashby, Archi Cianfrocco, Ed Giovanola, Chris Gomez, Jim Leyritz, Mark Sweeney and Greg Vaughn. Lefty Sterling Hitchcock, MVP of the NLCS victory over the Braves, will throw the ceremonial first pitch. The Padres were swept by the New York Yankees in the ‘98 World Series.