There wasn't much for the Padres to cheer about in a shutout loss to Atlanta.
Then Tom Layne lifted the team's mood.
Layne struck out the side in the eighth in a memorable major league debut, but Tim Hudson combined with three relievers for a five-hit shutout, leading the Braves to a 6-0 win over San Diego on Tuesday night.
Martin Prado hit a three-run homer and Dan Uggla also homered for Atlanta.
Layne, a left-hander called up from Double-A San Antonio before the game, struck out Brian McCann, Uggla and pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky in his perfect inning.
"Apparently it's real easy to pitch in the big leagues," said Padres catcher John Baker. "It was kind of an epic debut by him."
Layne looked like he was throwing his pitches high in his warm-up tosses. Then he started the inning by striking out McCann on three pitches.
"How 'bout that?" asked Padres manager Bud Black. "A guy out of nowhere comes in and strikes out the side. Strikes out a perennial All-Star in McCann. That's a great feather in his cap.
"Anytime you take the mound in your first major league game, you never know how it's going to play out. To come in and strike out the side, that's pretty good stuff. Good for him."
No one was more surprised than Layne.
"I had a lot of fun today," Layne said. "It was cool. It was surreal. I don't know that I've ever struck out the side before."
The 27-year-old Layne was 0-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 32 games, including two starts, at San Antonio. The Padres acquired Layne from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations on May 3.
Hudson (12-4) allowed two hits and one walk in 6 2-3 innings and won his sixth straight decision. He stopped a two-game losing streak that left the Braves 5½ games behind first-place Washington in the NL East, their biggest deficit since trailing by 6 games on July 5.
Atlanta got back within 4 1-2 games when Washington lost 6-1 at San Francisco later Tuesday.
"There's no one else I'd rather have out there than Huddy," Uggla said. "Anytime we put him out there in a situation where we need a win, he's going to come through."
Black said he saw Hudson pitch early in his career with Oakland and said Tuesday night's performance was "as good as I've seen him."
"He was on. No doubt," Black said. "He was hitting the corners, changing speeds. Got his grounders. ... This game was all about Hudson."
Jonny Venters, Luis Avilan and Craig Kimbrel completed the shutout.
Yonder Alonso led off the ninth with a single off Kimbrel, but he was stranded at third base when Cameron Maybin took a called third strike to end the game.
After being held to five hits in a 4-1 loss to Eric Stults and the Padres on Monday night, the Braves had 10 hits and broke open a close game with Prado's seventh-inning homer.
Clayton Richard (9-12) left the game trailing 3-0 after giving up two hits in the seventh. Prado hit a 3-2 pitch from right-hander Brad Boxberger over the center field wall, pushing the lead to 6-0. It was Prado's sixth homer of the season and first since June 20.
Richard allowed five runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
"His line will look a little bit worse than what he actually threw," Black said.
The Padres lost for only the third time in 11 games.
Richard said he was "a few pitches away from pitching well, I think."
He said facing Hudson was a tough assignment.
"You know you have to really be on your game," Richard said.
San Diego's only baserunner through four innings came on Chase Headley's first-inning walk. The Padres' first hit off Hudson was Mark Kotsay's single to left field to lead off the fifth. Hudson retired the next seven batters.
Richard, coming off 2-0 win over the Cubs, allowed a run in the first. Michael Bourn led off with a triple and scored on Freddie Freeman's groundout.
Uggla's homer to lead off the fifth pushed the lead to 2-0. The Braves added a run in the sixth on three straight singles by Prado, Freeman and Chipper Jones.
Hudson was pulled after giving up a one-out single to Alonso in the seventh.
NOTES: Padres LHP Alex Hinshaw was designated for assignment. ... C Yasmani Grandal, on the 15-day DL with a strained right oblique, took batting practice with the Padres before flying to San Diego on Tuesday night. Grandal will begin a rehab assignment Wednesday with Class A Lake Elsinore. ... Kotsay will receive $1.3 million in 2013 under his new deal with the Padres, agreed to last week. ... Braves bench coach Carlos Tosca's son Matt performed the national anthem on his violin. ... Braves OF Matt Diaz, on the DL since July 21, will have surgery on his injured right thumb on Wednesday. He is expected to miss the remainder of the season. ... Braves LHP Paul Maholm will face Padres RHP Edinson Volquez when the four-game series continues on Wednesday night.