SAN DIEGO (AP) Struggling Juan Soto homered and Nick Martinez pitched seven strong innings as the San Diego Padres beat NL East-leading Atlanta 1-0 Wednesday to snap the Braves' winning streak at eight.
The Braves, who had the longest active winning streak in the majors, were shut out for the first time this season.
The Padres won for just the second time in eight games and will welcome back superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. on Thursday in the opening game of a four-game series at Arizona. Tatis finished an 80-game PED suspension on Wednesday, but won't be added to the active roster until Thursday, when the Padres will make a corresponding move.
San Diego is looking for an infusion of energy from Tatis, an electrifying player who will be in right field when he returns, rather than shortstop, where he was an All-Star in 2021. San Diego's superstar-laden roster had scored just one run in its previous three games, all loses, and hadn't had a lead since Saturday night, when it beat Milwaukee 10-3.
Even with the win, which gave San Diego a 4-3 series win against Atlanta, the Padres are two games under .500.
Tatis, an All-Star in 2021, missed all of 2022. He was on the cusp of returning from a broken wrist suffered in a motorcycle accident in his native Dominican Republic in December 2021 when he was suspended on Aug. 12.
“It's been a long time. I'm looking forward to getting him in there," said manager Bob Melvin, who will put Tatis in the leadoff spot. "We saw what he had to offer in spring training, we saw how he was swinging the bat in Triple-A. He couldn't be more excited about getting in the lineup.”
Right-hander Joe Musgrove, who broke his left big toe in a weight room accident in spring training, will make his season debut Saturday night.
“It's almost like the reinforcements are coming. Personnel-wise, we're going to have a much better team,” Melvin said.
Soto, hitting just .175 coming in, drove a pitch from Charlie Morton (2-2) to deep right-center leading off the fourth, his fourth homer of the season. Soto snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a single in an 8-1 loss Tuesday night.
“I think this one was really important for us, going into the road trip," Soto said.
Soto came over from Washington in a blockbuster trade on Aug. 2 and had been looking forward to playing with Tatis for the first time.
“We're more than excited to get him back and see what he can show to the team,” Soto said. “He's amazing. He's going to bring a lot of energy and a lot of stuff we need. For me, getting the win is great for the team and the team's more excited to see him coming back.”
The Padres appeared headed for a 3-0 lead in the fifth, but Braves center fielder Sam Hilliard leaped and reached over the fence to rob Manny Machado of what would have been a two-run homer.
Machado did have a stellar day at third base, including a heads-up play that led to a fielder's choice double play in the first. He caught Ronald Acuna Jr. in a pickle rounding second on Austin Riley's grounder, and then doubled up Riley when he strayed too far off first. In the fifth, Machado ran to his left to field Acuna's grounder, spun around and made the throw to first to end the inning.
Martinez (1-1) held Atlanta to three hits while striking out six and walking two.
“His best game of the year by far, against a really hot lineup and a hot team,” Melvin said. “You can't say enough about the way he pitched.”
Josh Hader pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
“We didn't score a ton of runs but we got really good pitching today and sometimes no matter how you get it, a win is a welcome relief,” Melvin said.
Morton allowed one run and five hits in six innings.
Padres: Placed RHP Nabil Crismatt on the 15-day injured list with a left hip strain and recalled LHP Ray Kerr from Triple-A El Paso.
Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-0, 1.53 ERA) is scheduled to start Friday night in the opener of a three-game series against Houston, which counters with Hunter Brown (2-0, 1.93).
Padres: RHP Michael Wacha (2-1, 6.06 ERA) is scheduled to start the opener of a four-game series Thursday night at Arizona, which will counter with RHP Ryne Nelson (1-0, 3.71).
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