SAN DIEGO – The Braves, who suffered an ugly loss in the series opener, needed to bounce back. Their response: A gritty win in which they took a late lead.

The Braves defeated the Padres, 5-2, on Friday at Petco Park.

“It’s a long season, so I feel like, in this game, you have to flush it,” Kyle Wright said. “I don’t think we really even thought too much about it. I think we just showed up today and knew it was a new day and we were excited to get after it out there.”

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Here are five observations:

1. Adam Duvall stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning with runners on the corners and two outs in a tie game. The Braves desperately needed the big hit that had eluded them over the last couple days.

With a 2-2 count, Duvall took a 95-mph inside fastball from righty Pierce Johnson and lined it to the left-field corner. Two runs scored. The Braves took the lead.

Finally, the Braves could exhale as they saw a clutch hit land.

“For whatever reason, I had a good feeling about that at-bat,” Duvall said.

And Duvall, who is now hitting .250 with six RBIs, raced home on a wild pitch in that same inning to give his team a three-run lead.

2. As Braves manager Brian Snitker has said, Kyle Wright looks like a different pitcher on the mound this year.

Wright began his season with 10 scoreless innings before Ha-Seong Kim dumped a single into left-center field in the fifth inning Friday night. The right-hander set a career high in strikeouts and allowed only two runs on five hits over five innings.

“He just was getting after it,” Duvall said. “He was throwing everything, it looked like, with everything he had. He wasn’t holding back. Seeing that, it sends vibes through the team and through the lineup.

“He’s ripping it off. He’s throwing every pitch with conviction. It’s fun to watch.”

Wright held the Padres in check, but they made him work. He finished with 92 pitches, which shortened his outing.

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Credit: AP

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Credit: AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Friday, April 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. Wright set a new career high with nine strikeouts.

“Honestly, I had no clue,” he said after the game. “I don’t even know how many I had, to be honest with you.”

Perhaps the most impressive of them all came in the third: After a one-out double, Wright struck out Manny Machado, who has been on fire to start the season, on three pitches. Wright set up Machado with two hard sinkers before getting him to chase a filthy curveball out of the zone.

Before Friday, Wright’s career high in strikeouts was six. He had done it twice – in his first start of this season, and in 2020 – but both of those outings went at least six innings.

He needed fewer than four full frames to notch seven strikeouts in his latest start.

4. You will hear and read about Duvall and Wright, as you should. But let’s not forget the Braves’ bullpen, which held San Diego scoreless after Wright departed.

A.J. Minter, Darren O’Day, Tyler Matzek and Kenley Jansen each pitched a scoreless inning. Led by Wright, Braves pitchers collected 16 strikeouts a night after San Diego’s offense erupted.

“It’s big,” Snitker said of the bullpen’s reliability. “These guys know that they keep fighting and we keep that game close, we got a really good chance. Those guys, they’ve all been really, really good so far, obviously.”

5. Ozzie Albies has eight hits this season. Three are homers.

He’s homered in both games of this series: One solo shot on Thursday and another to open the scoring on Friday. He’s driven in seven runs so far.

“Ozzie has power,” Snitker said. “It’s no secret of that. And probably right handed, he’s as good a hitter as there is in the National League. ...That little kid, pound for pound, might be one of the strongest guys in baseball.”

Braves 5, Padres 2

Stat to know

7 - Seven different Braves collected a hit in the victory, which is important when the lineup has struggled a bit to begin the season.

Quotable

“That’s kind of why I think this is such a great sport, where you go to bed, the sun’s going to come up and it’s a new day – literally. We backed up probably one of our worst games of the year with a really, really good one. That’s what keeps us coming back, I guess.”-Snitker on bouncing back after a tough loss

Up next

Braves right-hander Ian Anderson will face Padres right-hander Nick Martinez Saturday in the third game of the series, which begins at 4:05 p.m. ET