Elder, Strider keep Braves close, but Padres hold on for 2-1 win

Marcell Ozuna celebrates his solo home run with Dansby Swanson and manager Brian Snitker during the seventh inning of Sunday's game against the Padres in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Credit: AP Photo/Kyusung Gong

Credit: AP Photo/Kyusung Gong

Marcell Ozuna celebrates his solo home run with Dansby Swanson and manager Brian Snitker during the seventh inning of Sunday's game against the Padres in San Diego. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)

Bryce Elder and Spencer Strider kept the Braves in the game, but the offense couldn’t mount a comeback.

The Braves (5-6) lost to the Padres 2-1 Sunday at Petco Park. The teams split the four-game series.

Here are five observations:

1. Elder battled in the second start of his career.

Baseball is a funny game, as evidenced by Elder’s first two starts: In the first, he looked dominant. In the second, he was not as sharp.

Yet he allowed fewer runs in his second start (two over 4 1/3 innings) than in the first (three over 5 2/3 frames). Sure, he pitched further into the game in his debut, but his latest outing was impressive for another reason.

Elder fought against the Padres and, even if he didn’t appear to be at his best, still limited the damage. He is still figuring out the major-league level, but never spiraled.

“I think I learned a lot as far as being out there and being in those situations, but at the same time, you have known forever if you walk four or five guys and hit somebody, it’s going to be a long day,” Elder said. “And when I say long day, I don’t necessarily mean going (a) long (amount of) innings.”

Considering Elder walked five Padres and hit another, it is incredible he only allowed two earned runs. San Diego could have piled on, but Elder never caved.

“He kept us in the game,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He gave us a great opportunity to come back and win this game, and I saw a lot of maturity out of him.”

2. The Braves will hit, and hit often. They simply ran into one of the game’s best arms in the series finale.

San Diego ace Yu Darvish hurled 6 2/3 innings of one-run baseball. He only allowed four hits, struck out eight Braves and didn’t walk anyone. The lone blemish: Marcell Ozuna’s solo home run to lead off the seventh inning.

The Braves’ offense had returned to form over games two and three here, but couldn’t muster enough to take three of four from the Padres.

“It just didn’t seem like we were seeing him real good,” Snitker said. “And he’s good. He plays keep away with that strike zone. He’s tough. He’s a tough ride.”

3. Strider and Elder, two 2020 draft picks, had dinner on Saturday night. They joked that Sunday would be a “Strelder Day”: Strider plus Elder. The two combined to throw the entire game.

Strider tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked three and struck out three.

He has allowed one run in nine innings this season for a 1.00 ERA.

4. Matt Olson recorded his sixth multi-hit game in 11 contests. Three have been three-hit games.

Olson on Sunday went the other way twice against Darvish -- once for a single, then again for a double. He’s batting .421.

5. The Braves are headed to Los Angeles, where the storylines will be aplenty.

They will face Freddie Freeman for the first time. Kenley Jansen will be returning to his former home.

Above all, this will be a battle between two clubs who are widely considered to be the best in the National League.

Stat to know

10 -The Padres left 10 men on base, a testament to Elder and Strider escaping jams.


“He was a little off with his command probably, but you know what, I saw a lot of really good intangibles out of the kid. I told him, ‘It probably wasn’t your best day, your command probably wasn’t what you wanted, but you never let anything get out of hand.’”-Snitker on Elder

Up next

Braves right-hander Huascar Ynoa, who received an extra day of rest, will face Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in Monday’s series opener at Dodger Stadium.

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