Touki Toussaint, Freddie Freeman lead Braves past Padres

Touki Toussaint delivered in an unexpectedly big way. Freddie Freeman unsurprisingly came through in a big way. And the Braves beat the Padres 2-1 on a rainy Tuesday night in Georgia.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Toussaint, who’d missed most of the season with a shoulder strain, made his first start. The right-hander kept the Padres off balance throughout the night, holding their potent offense to one run on three hits over 6-2/3 innings. He threw 79 pitches in the efficient effort, helping his team further by sparing its bullpen a heavy workload ahead of a busy stretch of games.

Toussaint, 25, looked markedly better than he did during a brief 2020. He had an 8.88 ERA across seven games and wasn’t consistent enough to help a rotation in shambles. Pitching in his first major-league game since Sept. 14, 2020, Toussaint appeared more confident and poised.

“Efficiency, that’s the thing you have to do as a starter to get deep in games,” Toussaint said. “I think that’s the most impressive thing for me. To go out there, keep my pitch count low and get outs.”

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves slugger Freddie Freeman praises pitcher Touki Toussaint on "a beautiful pitching performance" against the San Diego Padres.

Freeman added: “That was a beautiful pitching performance. … The talent is there. The mindset there is different, it feels like. He’s going out there and attacking. We’ve seen it before, but I’m hoping this is the start of a really nice run for Touki. … He had every pitch going tonight. The confidence on the mound, that’s the Touki we need.”

2. As manager Brian Snitker always acknowledges, it’s never been about the stuff with Toussaint. It’s about the consistency. Toussaint has an electric repertoire led by a fastball that topped at nearly 96 mph and a curveball. The pure stuff is why Toussaint was a first-round pick in 2014 by the Diamondbacks.

Toussaint showed a nice mix of pitches, fooling Padres hitters. He maintained his command throughout the night. The blemish came in the fourth, when he hit Jake Cronenworth with a pitch, surrendered a double to Manny Machado and saw Cronenworth score on Tommy Pham’s sacrifice fly.

“It was good for Touki,” Snitker said. “It’s obviously been a while since he’s been out there in a situation like this. It was good to see. Stuff was really good and he threw it over. That fastball had teeth on it. It was live. He has an innate ability to spin the ball. It’s just about command and throwing the ball over the plate. He doesn’t have to spot up either with the action on his pitches. It doesn’t have to be perfect. If he gets it over the plate, he can be very effective, as he was today.”

The pitcher’s take on his outing makes the science of baseball sound so simple.

“I’m just trying to throw it in the zone, honestly,” Toussaint said. “I think everyone knows that’s been my biggest problem. Not throwing strikes. (Gwinnett pitching coach) Mike Moroth in Triple-A was like, just throw the ball in the zone. Let guys get themselves out. That’s basically what I did, see how many strikes I could throw and go from there.”

3. The confident Toussaint shared a prediction about his team over the next two months: “I think we’re going to win the division. That’s the expectation and I think that’s what everyone knows we can do.”

4. Freeman’s early struggles feel so long ago. The first baseman blasted an opposite-field homer off Padres ace Yu Darvish in the sixth to put the Braves ahead. It was Freeman’s fifth homer in seven games.

5. The Braves’ bullpen did its job, even if it lived a little dangerously. Fernando Tatis reached with one out against Chris Martin in the eighth, but Martin retired All-Stars Cronenworth and Machado to leave Tatis at second. Closer Will Smith allowed Wil Myers’ two-out double in the ninth before getting Victor Caratini to ground out.

Stat to know

6-2/3 (Toussaint went 6-2/3 innings, tied for the longest outing of his career with an Aug. 6 start against the Blue Jays last season.)


“Freddie had a nice at-bat, too.” – Snitker said, unprompted, as his media availability winded down. Each question was centered around Toussaint, and Snitker just wanted to make sure Freeman’s homer received its credit.


Despite the rain, 36,621 people attended the game. The promotion – a Ronald Acuna chain giveaway – certainly helped.

Up next

The Braves and Padres finish their series with a doubleheader Wednesday. After some rotation maneuvering, the Braves will start Kyle Muller and Bryse Wilson, respectively. The Padres hadn’t announced their starters.