ATLANTA (AP) — In a largely forgettable season, the Atlanta Braves finally have reason to gloat a bit.
They swept a three-game series at Turner Field for the first time this year.
And, get this: They’ve scored at least seven runs in five straight home games — the first time that’s happened since 1953.
Freddie Freeman homered and the Braves broke the game open with a five-run fifth inning, beating the San Diego Padres 9-6 on Thursday.
“We’re not having the kind of season we wanted to,” Freeman said. “But we want to finish strong.”
One day after Minnesota dipped below Atlanta to the worst record in the majors, the Braves kept on winning behind a six solid innings from Mike Foltynewicz (8-5) and another strong showing from the offense.
It was the first time they’ve had five consecutive home games with at least seven runs since Aug. 7-10, 1953, the team’s debut season in Milwaukee.
“We don’t want the worst record in baseball,” Freeman said. “We’re trying to take care of business in September so we don’t have that.”
The slugging first baseman put Atlanta up in the third with his 28th homer, a two-run liner into the right-field seats off Jarred Cosart (0-2). After Hector Sanchez homered for the Padres in the fifth, the Braves finished off Cosart in the bottom half. Freeman walked with the bases loaded, followed by two-run singles from both Matt Kemp and Anthony Recker.
The Braves’ two previous three-game sweeps this season came on the road. They’re still just 22-44 at the Ted, but feeling a lot better about the way they’ve played since the All-Star break.
Atlanta has won 20 of its last 45 games.
“We’re not looking at the big picture,” interim manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re just trying to put our best foot forward every day.”
Foltynewicz won his fourth straight decision over six starts. He went six innings, yielding just four hits though he did get touched for a pair of homers. Wil Myers went deep in the sixth, lofting a two-run shot just inside the left-field pole.
It wasn’t enough to keep the Padres from their seventh loss in the last nine games.
Cosart lasted only 4 1-3 innings, charged with seven runs on five hits and three walks.
The Padres scored three runs in the ninth off Chaz Roe before Jim Johnson came on to get the final out for his 14th save.
The Braves plan to start right-hander John Gant on Saturday in Philadelphia. Aaron Blair was initially scheduled to go, but the struggling rookie (0-6, 8.23 ERA) has been dropped from the rotation.
Both teams made some minor changes on the first day of expanded rosters.
The Braves reinstated right-handed reliever Chris Withrow and catcher A.J. Piersynski from the 15-day disabled list, and also called up left-hander Jeb Bradley from Triple-A Gwinnett. The 26-year-old Bradley was acquired from Milwaukee in June and has never pitched in the majors. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, Atlanta transferred injured pitcher Eric O’Flaherty to the 60-day disabled list.
San Diego, meanwhile, called up left-hander Ryan Buchter from Triple-A El Paso of the Pacific Coast League. He has spent most of the season with the Padres, going 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 58 games before being sent out Aug. 20 for a brief stint in the minors.
Padres: LHP Clayton Richard (1-3, 3.51) gets the nod Friday as the Padres begin a three-game series in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. The 32-year-old will be making his fourth start since signing with the Padres. He has not allowed an earned run in 14 consecutive innings.
Braves: RHP Joel De La Cruz will again be seeking his first big league win when he starts the opener of a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The 27-year-old is 0-7 with a 4.66 ERA in 15 games — including eight starts — since being called up from Triple-A Gwinnett. He 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in three appearances vs. the Phillies.
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