SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Two starts after giving up nine runs in the
first inning, Brett Tomko was brilliant against the best team in
Tomko pitched a seven-hitter for his second complete game this
season and Ron Gant had his first two-homer game in more than two
The Padres, who have the second-worst record in the NL, need to
beat the Braves -- who have baseball's best record at 80-44 -- the next two games to win the season series for the first time since 1990.
Tomko (7-8) had been 0-2 with a 7.01 ERA lifetime against
Atlanta before holding the Braves to two runs for his fourth career
complete game. He struck out five and walked two in winning
consecutive starts for just the second time this year.
"I haven't had a whole lot of complete games in my career, so
when you get a chance to get them, they're nice,'' Tomko said.
Just 11 days earlier, Tomko was roughed up for nine runs in the
first inning at Cincinnati, lasting just 3 1/3 innings in a game the Padres lost 12-10.
Tomko came back with a win at New York, then mixed up his pitches against the Braves. He had the most success with his sinker.
"My sinker's been so good,'' he said. "I made a couple of adjustments in my mechanics after that debacle in Cincinnati. New York and tonight, my sinker's back to how good it was the first part of the year.''
Atlanta's Chipper Jones said Tomko is "as tough a guy when he's
on, and he had good stuff tonight. It doesn't matter how well
you're playing, when you have a guy throwing that well, it's hard
to get anything going.''
Gant, who started his big league career with the Braves, hit a
two-run homer to straightaway center field off rookie lefty Damian
Moss (7-5) to cap a three-run first inning.
Gant added a solo shot in the sixth, also off Moss. Center
fielder Andruw Jones, a four-time Gold Glove winner, leaped at the
wall, but the ball bounced off his glove and ricocheted off one of
the palm trees between the fence and the permanent wall.
"Andruw Jones almost made (an amazing) play,'' Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. "It looked like he got his glove on it. But Ronnie's had some big games for us, and tonight was another one.''
Gant thought Jones was going to rob him of a home run.
"I knew I hit it pretty good, but with him, if you don't get it
way out of the ballpark, he usually catches it and he almost did,''
Gant said. "I'm kind of surprised he didn't because he's so good
The 37-year-old Gant, signed as a minor league free agent in
January, has 15 homers this year. His last two-homer game was Aug.
7, 2000, against Boston for Anaheim. He finished with three hits.
Gant's homer in the first inning came after Moss walked Ryan
Klesko, another former Brave. All three runs in the first were
unearned because of Moss' throwing error earlier in the inning.
Mark Kotsay hit a leadoff single and went to second on Julius
Matos' sacrifice. With Moss facing Phil Nevin, Kotsay broke for
third a bit soon. Moss stepped off the rubber, but his throw to
third baseman Vinny Castilla was in the dirt.
Kotsay scored on Nevin's groundout.
Gant's first homer gave the Padres a 3-0 lead.
"It seemed like Brett just ran with it,'' Gant said. "It seemed like all night, he was unhittable. We needed a performance like that. It was the right time for both him and me.''
Castilla hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and Julio Franco an RBI single in the fifth for the Braves.
Moss allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits in six
innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The Braves committed three errors. ... Moss, an Australian,
had gone a season-high eight innings in two of his three previous
starts, all of which were no-decisions. He went eight innings in
his last start, which ended in a 3-3, 10-inning tie against San
Francisco due to rain.