They may be clicking at the wrong time, but the San Diego Padres are getting glimpses of the future from their young pitching staff.
The Padres will send another fresh-faced arm to the mound Tuesday in the hopes of extending a season-high winning streak to nine games in the continuation of a three-game series versus the Atlanta Braves at Petco Park.
Casey Kelly made his major league debut for San Diego in last night's 3-0 victory and pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Kelly, who was acquired in the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston, tossed 87 pitches, 53 of which were strikes.
"It was an unbelievable feeling and a dream come true," Kelly said.
The Padres' starters have posted a 1.67 ERA during the stretch since going 0-5 with an 11.74 ERA in their previous five contests. Luke Gregerson hurled a scoreless ninth to collect his second save, and hasn't allowed a run in his previous 23 innings. It's the second longest active streak in the majors behind J.P. Howell of Tampa Bay (26 2/3 innings).
As for the offense, Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run homer and added an RBI single for San Diego, which can record a third straight winning series with a victory tonight. The club swept both Pittsburgh and Arizona before taking Monday's series opener. Grandal, Logan Forsythe and Jesus Guzman all finished with two hits in the win.
The last time the Padres won more than eight in a row was during a 10-game winning streak from May 15-25, 2009. San Diego is 41-30 since early June.
Taking the mound for the Friars tonight will be left-hander Andrew Werner. He made his major league debut in a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh last Wednesday and lasted six innings, yielding two runs and four hits. He fanned two batters and issued four walks.
Signed by the Padres as a non-drafted free agent, Werner will make his second career start at home, where the Padres have won five straight.
Atlanta is falling fast at the worst time, but still leads the National League Wild Card and sits five games behind sliding Washington in the NL East.
The Braves have sustained seven losses in their last 10 games, and dropped to 3-5 on a 10-game road trip. Braves starter Paul Maholm was dealt the loss for giving up a pair of runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out five and allowed one walk.
"We felt better than a shutout the way we swung the bats," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.
Jason Heyward had the lone extra-base hit with a double for Atlanta, which posted just four hits on the night and had scored seven runs in each of their previous two games at San Francisco.
Hoping to stem the tide for Atlanta tonight will be Kris Medlen. Medlen has won three straight starts and is unbeaten in his last four decisions. He tossed a five-hit shutout against the Padres on Aug. 16, then threw seven scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory at Washington last Wednesday. Medlen is 5-1 with a 1.86 earned run average in 43 games (5 starts) this season, and the Braves have won his last 16 starts.
Medlen is riding a 21-innings scoreless streak as well.
The right-hander has faced San Diego five times (1 start) in his career and sports a 1-2 mark with a 2.19 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. Medlen is 3-0 on the road this season, spanning 23 appearances, two of which have been starts.
The Padres recently lost three of four meetings with Atlanta from Aug. 13-16 at Turner Field.