Padres ace Mat Latos loses 9th straight start
SAN DIEGO – San Diego Padres ace Mat Latos isn't panicking even though he's lost nine straight starts dating to September, tying the longest streak in club history.
Chipper Jones hit a two-run triple and finished with three RBIs as the Atlanta Braves beat Latos and the sluggish Padres 7-0 Wednesday.
Braves starter Tommy Hanson (3-3) struck out 10 and walked only one in seven innings and combined with two relievers on a four-hitter. The Padres were shut out for the major league-leading seventh time in 25 games, and for the third time on a seven-game homestand. San Diego scored only 10 runs in the seven games.
"I feel fine. I only gave up one earned run," Latos said. "The other positive was that I didn't give up a home run today."
It was a small consolation for a team that continues to strike out a lot — 11 more times — can't score and is hearing more boos from the fans.
Jones moved out of a tie with Mickey Mantle and into sole possession of second place among switch-hitters with 1,512 RBIs. Hall of Famer Eddie Murray tops the list at 1,917.
Latos (0-4) allowed only one earned run. A fielding error by first baseman Brad Hawpe with two outs in the second inning led to the Braves scoring five unearned runs.
Jones' groundout in the first brought in Martin Prado, who doubled to left on Latos' first pitch of the game and advanced on Jason Heyward's fly out.
Latos almost got out of the second inning unscathed even though he allowed Freddie Freeman's leadoff double down the right-field line and Nate McLouth's one-out single to center, which wasn't deep enough to bring in Freeman.
After Latos struck out Hanson, Prado hit a grounder down the first-base line. Hawpe tried to backhand it but it went under his glove for an error, allowing Freeman and McLouth to score. Heyward beat out an infield single and Jones tripled over the head of center fielder Cameron Maybin, who was retreating and turned the wrong way. Jones scored on Brian McCann's double to right, making it 6-0.
Latos said he hasn't lost confidence.
"Like I said, I gave up one earned run," he said. "I did my job for the most part and you just have to keep going. It's not like I'm giving up 10 runs and getting the crap knocked out of me."
Hawpe was signed to replace Adrian Gonzalez, a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner who was traded to Boston in December. Hawpe, who played only a handful of games at first in his major league career before this season, has had a rough year in the field and at the plate.
Latos went five innings, with five strikeouts and one walk. Andy Benes (Sept. 6, 1993-April 19, 1994) and Dennis Rasmussen (June 26-Aug. 9, 1991) also lost nine straight starts for San Diego.
"He couldn't string pitches together," manager Bud Black said. "We've seen that this year, just the inconsistency from hitter to hitter. We'll see some great sequences to hitters. And other times we'll see it slip away from him. He couldn't string together enough good pitches to keep the ball out of the middle of the plate, where some good hitters got him."
NOTES: The Braves went 6-4 on a trip through Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego, including a three-game sweep of the Giants. ... The Padres are off Thursday after playing 20 games in 20 days, tied for their longest stretch of the season.