Dansby Swanson's walk-off hit caps Atlanta Braves' 5th straight win

By Stan Awtrey, The Sports Xchange
Dansby Swanson's walk-off hit gave the Braves' their fifth straight victory. Photo courtesy Atlanta Braves via Twitter
Dansby Swanson's walk-off hit gave the Braves' their fifth straight victory. Photo courtesy Atlanta Braves via Twitter

ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson was one of the few Atlanta Braves who had failed to feast on San Diego pitching during the homestand that opened Sun Trust Park.

Swanson was 1-for-16 in the series, but when he got an opportunity with the game on the line Monday, the former No. 1 overall draft choice came through with the game-winning hit.


The Atlanta shortstop looped a bases-loaded, two-out single to left in the ninth inning to drive in the winning run and give the Braves a 5-4 walk-off victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday.

"The hit was great, and the fact we won was great," said Swanson, who was doused with a bucket of water on the field while doing a postgame television interview. "But seeing how happy they were was almost even better. Seeing Freddie (Freeman) bum-rush you and Matt (Kemp) and Jace (Peterson) ... everybody was just so extremely happy. It was awesome."


The victory gave Atlanta a sweep of the four-game series, the Braves' first against the Padres since May 2003. Atlanta has won five straight.

Freeman went 4-for-4 with two homers, two doubles and three RBIs, helping the team get to .500 (6-6) after a 1-6 start.

"That was huge," Freeman said. "We don't want anyone in that situation other than (Swanson) because he was due. It came at the right time."

Swanson was hitting just .134 going into the decisive at-bat, but he remained confident.

"Sometimes it just feels like you can't hit it away from them," Swanson said. "My dad, we were eating dinner last night for Easter, and he was like, 'They've been playing there for 100 years. Try to hit it somewhere else.'"

With one out in the ninth, Kurt Suzuki got the rally started with a single against reliever Brandon Maurer (0-1). Pinch runner Chase d'Arnaud went to third with two outs when Emilio Bonifacio dropped a double in front of diving Padres left fielder Allen Cordoba.

After Ender Incarte was intentionally walked to load the bases, Swanson delivered the game-winning single. The hit fell just in front of Cordoba and skipped past him as d'Arnaud scored.


"There are two guys who have killed us all series -- Ender Inciarte and Freddie Freeman -- and at the end of the game, if you're going to have your pick, I'm going to pick the guy who's got one hit in the entire series versus the guy who's hit two out of the ballpark and has big hit after big hit," San Diego manager Andy Green said.

Jim Johnson (2-0) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the win.

The Padres grabbed a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning when Austin Hedges hit a two-run opposite-field homer, his second of the season, to right against reliever Arodys Vizcaino.

"We fought back," Green said "That was good to see. We haven't the last few days. Big swing from Hedges. We had an opportunity to win the game and we couldn't close it out."

Atlanta evened the score at 4-4 in the bottom half of the eighth on Freeman's solo homer off reliever Ryan Buchter. It was Freeman's fifth homer of the season, and it gave him his second multi-homer game of the year.


Neither starter figured in the decision. Atlanta's Jaime Garcia allowed two runs on five hits in 6 1/3 innings, with four strikeouts. San Diego's Jered Weaver gave up three runs, two earned, in six innings with three strikeouts.

The Padres scored a run in the first. Manuel Margot beat out an infield grounder, went to third on a Wil Myers' single and scored on a hit by Yangervis Solarte.

The Braves tied the game at 1-1 in the second. Brandon Phillips reached on an infield single and took second on a bad throw from shortstop Luis Sardinas. Phillips scored on Suzuki's grounder to third.

Atlanta took a 3-1 lead in the third inning when Freeman hit a two-run homer off a hanging breaking ball.

"He's one of the best hitters in the game and he showed it again tonight," Green said. "He hit all kind of different pitches. He hit a breaking ball outside, pulled it for a home run, and an elevated fast ball the other way for a home run, pitch inside for a double ... one of the best in the game."


NOTES: San Diego 1B Wil Myers extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the first inning. ... The Padres started Luis Sardinas at shortstop and hit him seventh in the lineup. It was his second start of the season, the other at third base. San Diego manager Andy Green shook up the lineup and hit RHP Jered Weaver in the No. 8 spot and LF Travis Jankowski at the bottom of the lineup ... The Braves said C Tyler Flowers (right hamstring) would not need to go on the disabled list after leaving the Sunday game early with an injury. Flowers did not play Monday.

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