Padres try to sweep Braves for first time in 8 years

Edinson Volquez looks to erase the memories of his last start when he takes the mound for the San Diego Padres Wednesday in the finale of a three-game series versus the Atlanta Braves at Petco Park.

Volquez had his shortest and most putrid start of the season in Friday's 10-9 loss at Colorado and was fortunate to avoid a decision. Volquez lasted just 2 1/3 innings and was raked for nine runs and 11 hits. He has allowed 13 runs over his past two starts.

"It's tough," said Volquez, who is 4-5 in 13 starts with a 6.33 ERA.

San Diego has lost five of the right-hander's last six appearances and Volquez is 2-3 in six home assignments. In five lifetime starts against the Braves, Volquez is 1-3 with a 4.56 ERA.

The Padres hope Volquez can lift the club to its first three-game sweep of the Braves since May 16-18, 2005 and pitch nearly as well as Andrew Cashner did in Tuesday's 3-2 win. Cashner outdueled Braves veteran Tim Hudson by tossing eight innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts and one walk.

Joe Thatcher got the first two outs of the ninth and Luke Gregerson struck out the final batter for his third save.

"Every time I got into trouble ... I told myself to keep making pitches," Cashner said. "I kind of toned it down after the first and got my changeup down in the zone. I think that was the biggest thing."

The eight innings for Cashner were a career high.

Chase Headley homered, while Nick Hundley and Carlos Quentin drove in one run apiece for the Padres, who have won five of their last seven games. Including Monday's 7-6 win over the Braves, San Diego is 2-0 on a six-game homestand and will host Arizona this weekend.

Atlanta hopes to wrap up its seven-game journey (2-4) on a good note and still leads the NL East by a comfortable seven games over Washington.

Hudson was solid through 7 1/3 innings despite taking the loss and gave up three runs with seven K's and one walk.

"He was great," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said of Hudson. "He pitched great and we should have got the win for him today."

Freeman had an RBI single and a sacrifice groundout for the Braves, losers in four of six games since starting June with five wins in a row.

After the Braves visit San Diego they will start an eight-game homestand this weekend versus San Francisco and the New York Mets.

Braves starter Paul Maholm had a strong outing last Friday in a no-decision and gets the call Wednesday. In a 2-1 loss at Los Angeles, Maholm limited the Dodgers to a run and four hits in 7 1/3 innings to keep his five-game unbeaten streak alive (3-0).

Maholm, a left-hander, has won four of his last five decisions and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in four of his past five starts. He is 7-4 in 13 starts with a 3.46 earned run average and only 1-5 with a 4.02 ERA in seven career starts against San Diego.

The Padres lost four of seven matchups with Atlanta last season.