Braves eye 40th win in San Diego

The Atlanta Braves can become just the second team in the majors to 40 wins when they open a three-game series with the San Diego Padres Monday at Petco Park.

The NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals are the only team to have that many wins at 41-22, while the Braves sit atop the NL East with a 39-24 mark.

Atlanta earned a split of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers by taking the final two installments at Chavez Ravine, including Sunday's 8-1 decision behind a pair of home runs from Dan Uggla. Uggla cracked a three-run homer and later added a solo shot, while Freddie Freeman drove in three runs.

Uggla has three home runs and five RBI in his last two games.

"To get two more today (after one last night) was big," Uggla said. "I've been in a slump and this is a great way to break out."

Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor improved to 8-2 by holding the Dodgers to a run and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts and three walks. Alex Wood threw two scoreless innings of relief and David Carpenter closed the door in the ninth.

The Braves are 7 1/2 games ahead of Washington in the NL East standings and are 7-2 in the month of June after going 15-13 in May and 17-9 in April.

Julio Teheran will take the mound for Atlanta and hopes to build on his last start, a near no-hit win over Pittsburgh last Wednesday. Teheran threw eight shutout innings and gave up just one hit with a career-high 11 K's and two walks, improving to 4-2 in 11 starts and lowering his earned run average to 3.30.

"He has grown up a lot as this season has gone along," Braves catcher Gerald Laird said of Teheran. "It's a lot of fun to go out there and watch him pitch. I'm not afraid to call offspeed pitches in any count now."

Teheran has never faced the Padres and the right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in six road starts this season.

San Diego is back home for six games versus Atlanta and Arizona, and just went 3-4 on a recent road trip against the Dodgers and Rockies.

The Padres split their four-game series in Colorado, but are coming off Sunday's 8-7 loss in 10 innings. Dexter Fowler stroked the game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Rockies scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra frames.

Cameron Maybin, Nick Hundley and Mark Kotsay all homered and Padres starter Clayton Richard struggled once again in the no-decision. The left-hander allowed four runs and eight hits in six innings, while Tyson Ross was responsible for the game-winning run to take the loss.

"Clayton did a nice job, putting up three zeroes at the end," Padres manager Bud Black said. "You ask anyone, four runs over six innings in this park is not a bad effort. There's some pitches he'd like to have back, but I think it was a step in the right direction."

San Diego blew a 7-4 lead and entered the game having won three of four games. On a positive note, the Padres have recorded 10 or more hits in the last six games and shortstop Everth Cabrera is riding a career-best 10-game hitting streak, batting .458 with 22 hits and four RBI in that time.

Padres rookie second baseman Jedd Gyorko sustained an undisclosed right groin injury running between first and second base in the 10th inning on Sunday. He is batting .284 with eight homers and 25 RBI this season.

"Hopefully, it's just a cramp," Gyorko said on the club's website. "It happened on the last step before I slid. When I got inside the dugout, it spasmed pretty bad."

Taking the mound for the Friars Monday will be Jason Marquis, who is 6-0 with a 3.28 earned run average in his last eight starts. The Padres are 7-1 in that time and helped the right-hander his previous time out in a 6-2 win at Los Angeles last Wednesday. The sinker-baller gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and is 7-2 in 12 starts with a 3.73 ERA.

"I've been working really hard to find a consistent delivery. I was able to do that tonight. The execution of my sinker was where I wanted it," Marquis said. "When I have a good one like that, I like to use it a lot. The sinker is my bread and butter."

The right-handed Marquis is 4-1 in seven home starts and the Padres are 5-2 when he takes the hill at Petco Park. Drafted by Atlanta back in 1996, Marquis is 3-5 with a rough 7.69 ERA in nine career starts against the Braves.

San Diego lost four of seven matchups with Atlanta last season.