The Braves played their second straight extra innings affair Monday in the opener against the Padres, but this time things did not go their way thanks to poor decision making and execution.
The Braves got the scoring started early in the first inning when Jason Heyward took a high fastball the other way over the left field wall for a solo homer, worth .116 WPA. The Padres attempted an early response in the home half of the first when they put two in scoring position with one out, but Derek Lowe struck out the next two batters to end the threat, worth -.087 and -.063.
The Padres did tie the game up in the second when a single and double set up a fielder's choice groundout by Will Venable to bring home a run, worth .010. They had a runner on third with no outs but stranded him there. But the Padres did take the lead the next inning on a solo homer by Ryan Ludwick, worth .143 WPA.
The Braves responded in the fifth with the tying and go-ahead runs. Freddie Freeman doubled and Alex Gonzalez singled him home to tie the game at two, worth .136. After Nate McLouth grounded Gonzalez to second, Lowe picked himself up with a RBI single to take the 3-2 lead, worth .156 WPA.
The Padres put two on with two outs in the sixth, but pinch hitter Eric Patterson flew out to end the inning, worth -.076. They would come right back in the seventh as the Braves entered their bullpen. Eric O'Flaherty walked Cameron Maybin to lead off the inning. He advanced to second on a sac bunt, and after Chase Headley struck out for the second out, O'Flaherty was pulled for Scott Linebrink, who promptly gave up a deep, run-scoring double to Nick Hundley to tie the game at three, worth .267 WPA.
Between the eighth and 11th innings, only baserunner reached for both teams, a single by Gonzalez in the 10th which led to nothing. Chipper Jones doubled to lead off the 12th, worth .176 WPA. However, pinch runner Brandon Hicks ran himself into an out when Brian McCann grounded back to the pitcher, who threw Hicks out at third, worth -.171. Dan Uggla followed with a single to move McCann to second, but Freeman and Gonzalez struck out to end the inning.
Again, the Braves put the leadoff man on in the 13th when Nate McLouth singled, but again, he was forced out on a bunt attempt by reliever Cristhian Martinez. Martin Prado flew out to right field and Martinez was doubled off first base because he's a relief pitcher running the bases, worth -.121 WPA.
With Martinez still on the mound for the bottom of the 13th, Ludwick hit a two-run home run to end the torture - I mean, game - 5-3, worth .382 WPA, certainly the biggest swing of the game.
Heyward is 8-17 in his last four games with two home runs and four RBIs. He had a stretch following the home run in the first inning where he was 8-13.
Lowe's eight strikeouts isn't becoming that rare for the sinkerballer since his newfound love for the slider. He struck out 12 over eight innings on Sept. 13 of last season.
Cory Gearrin made his major league debut with two perfect innings in the ninth and 10th, including two strikeouts and no balls in the air. His debut was good enough for a tie for second best WPA in the game.
Chipper's double in the 12th was his 500th for his career.
Stat of the Day:
Derek Lowe's RBI single was the first hit for a Braves pitcher this season.
The Game Changer:
Ryan Ludwick's two-run home run in the 13th gave the Padres the walk-off win, worth .382 WPA.
(SD) Ryan Ludwick: .333
(SD) Cory Luebke: .232
(ATL) Cory Gearrin: .232
(ATL) Martin Prado: -.232
(ATL) Brian McCann: -.229
(SD) Chase Headley: -.225