Adam LaRoche homered twice and drove in five runs, including two
on an 11th-inning double, to help the Braves to a wild 15-12 win
over the Padres on Friday night in the highest-scoring game in
Petco Park's three-year history.
"How many times did it go back and forth?" LaRoche asked after
the teams' first game back from the All-Star break. "Golly. That's
not what we really had in mind to open up the second half, but it's
a win and we'll take it, because God knows we need as many as we
can get right now."
Atlanta, which has won 14 straight division titles, moved into
second place in the NL East, percentage points ahead of
Philadelphia but still 13 games behind the New York Mets.
The NL West-leading Padres had rallied four times to tie the
game, including in the ninth, a half-inning after Trevor Hoffman
blew a save for just the second time in 26 chances by allowing
Andruw Jones' two-run double.
It looked like LaRoche's leadoff homer in the 10th off Brian
Sikorski -- his second of the game and 15th this season -- would give
the Braves a lead that would hold up. But Brian Giles walked
leading off the Padres' 10th, took third on pinch-hitter Rob
Bowen's single and scored on a double play.
The Braves scored three in the 11th off Clay Hensley (5-7),
who's scheduled to start Tuesday against Philadelphia. Andruw Jones
scored on Jeff Francoeur's grounder before LaRoche added a two-run
double down the left-field line, his fourth hit of the night. The
five RBI tied his career high.
"I've never been involved in one like that," said Bobby Cox,
who managed in his 3,787th major league game in 25 seasons. "All
kinds of hitting, some good pitching, some not too good. I don't
know what else to say about a game like that.
"Our bullpen has really been going good, and their bullpen is
really good, and you would never imagine something like that," Cox
said. "Both starters gone after a couple of innings. There's no
way to explain this type of game. I'm not even jumping up and down
by winning it."
Neither starter made it out of the fourth inning as the teams
combined for eight homers, which tied the Petco Park record, and 36
hits, a ballpark record. The Padres had seven of the night's 11
San Diego, which had its five-game winning streak snapped, tied
a club record for an extra-inning game by using nine pitchers. The
Braves used eight pitchers, tying a franchise record.
Chipper Jones hit two homers for the Braves, who won for the
seventh time in nine games, and Andruw Jones connected once. Jorge
Sosa (3-10) got the win after blowing the save, allowing three runs
in two innings. He gave up leads of 11-9 and 12-11. Tyler Yates
pitched the 11th for his first career save.
With the Padres leading 9-8, Hoffman was one strike away from
his 25th save when Jones hit a 3-2 pitch into the left-field corner
to score Marcus Giles and Edgar Renteria. Hoffman allowed a run for
the first time in 13 appearances.
"His best pitch is a changeup so I was just looking for a
changeup, and he left it down over the plate and I managed to have
a good swing at it," Jones said.
"You don't want to get beat with something other than what
you're comfortable throwing," Hoffman said. "He wasn't giving in,
Hoffman also was one strike away from earning the save in the
All-Star game Tuesday night when Michael Young hit a two-run triple
to lift the AL to a 3-2 win.
Hoffman allowed three runs, two hits and a walk. He gave up
Giles' single and Renteria's walk with one out before getting
Chipper Jones to pop up to short.
Brian McCann added an RBI single off Sikorski to make it 11-9.
San Diego tied it in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single by
rookie Josh Barfield and a run-scoring double by Josh Bard. Bard's
hit glanced off first baseman LaRoche's glove and rolled into the
Braves' bullpen in right field.
San Diego tied the game at 8 on Mike Piazza's three-run homer in
the sixth, and went ahead 9-8 on Barfield's double in the seventh.
Atlanta starter Tim Hudson couldn't hold a 5-1 lead in the third
and the Braves' shaky bullpen lost an 8-5 lead. Hudson was hit on
the right bicep by Mark Bellhorn's comebacker for an infield single
in the second and was gone after three.
The Padres twice got a three-run homer to tie the game. Adrian
Gonzalez hit one off Hudson in the third to tie it at 5, his second
homer of the game and 15th of the season. He set a career high with
four RBI, and Piazza also drove in four runs.
Piazza's 13th homer came with pinch-hitter Geoff Blum aboard on
a leadoff double and Brian Giles on after a two-out walk.
"It's tough to lose like that after coming back so many
times," Piazza said. "But this team is tough and will bounce
San Diego starter Chris Young, who came in with a 3.12 ERA,
allowed a season-high seven runs and seven hits, struck out two and
Hudson gave up five runs on nine hits. He struck out one and
Chipper Jones had an extra-base hit for the 12th straight
game, the longest streak since Rogers Hornsby did the same in 1928
for the Boston Braves. ... Padres reliever Doug Brocail retired all
three batters he faced in the 10th in his first action this season.
He had been sidelined after undergoing two heart angioplasties in