Sale continues dominant run as Braves beat Padres 3-0 to split twinbill; San Diego wins opener 6-5


ATLANTA (AP) — Chris Sale allowed only five hits in seven innings to continue his strong run and the Atlanta Braves snapped their season-worst, four-game losing streak by beating the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Monday night to split a doubleheader.

The Padres won the first three games of the series. Manny Machado’s two-run double in the eighth gave San Diego the lead and the Padres rallied from a five-run deficit to win the twinbill opener, 6-5.

In the nightcap, Sale (7-1) recorded nine strikeouts without a walk while winning his sixth straight start. He has allowed no runs in three consecutive starts, a streak covering 20 innings. He has 28 strikeouts and one walk in the dominant stretch.

“I know about as well as anybody how quick that coin can flip,” Sale said. “There's a long way to go and nothing to hang your hat on yet. ... I wouldn't say I'm totally satisfied.”

Sale served as the stopper to end the four-game skid.

“I think he expects to be that guy,” said Braves manager Brian Snitker, who added Sale “has been just nails” during his scoreless streak.

Pierce Johnson and Raisel Iglesias completed the seven-hitter. Iglesias pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save.

The second game was scheduled when rain postponed Saturday night's game.

Marcell Ozuna hit homers in each game and has 14 this season. Ozuna's fifth-inning liner over the left-field wall off Randy Vásquez (0-3) gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the second game.

Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the game against Vásquez with his first triple of the season and scored on Ozzie Albies' single.

The Braves blew a 5-0 lead in the first game, wasting a strong start from Reynaldo López. Machado's double off Joe Jiménez (1-1) drove in Jurickson Profar and Jake Cronenworth to cap a four-run inning. Cronenworth singled in two runs in the inning.

“It's been all year, we haven't really left the fight,” Machado said. “This team, until that last out is made, we're going to continue to fight.”

Atlanta led 5-2 before San Diego's four-run eighth. The Padres had lost 117 consecutive games when trailing by three runs through seven innings since their most recent such comeback on May 29, 2021, at Houston.

“Oh my gosh, I love this team, I just love this team,” manager Mike Shildt said.

Shildt said Machado's go-ahead hit was “Manny doing Manny things.”

Ozuna and Matt Olson hit back-to-back homers in the third inning for Atlanta, which had 12 hits after being held to a combined two runs and 11 hits while losing the first two games of the series.

Acuña had three of the Braves' nine hits in four innings against Dylan Cease, who previously had not given up more than six hits in a game this season.

Jhony Brito (1-2) gave up one hit in a scoreless seventh for the Padres. Robert Suarez, helped by shortstop Ha-Seong Kim's diving catch of a popup hit by Harris in shallow center field, pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.