MLB

Padres-Braves Preview

Until nearly the end of May, Atlanta was looking like a modest offensive club. Roughly the same time frame applies to Andrew Cashner's label as a tough-luck starting pitcher.

All of a sudden, Cashner is a bit of a mess and the Braves have some of the hottest bats in the majors, a trend they'll try to continue as they go for a series win over the San Diego Padres on Thursday in Atlanta.

The Braves (29-30) have taken two of three in the series after a 14-hit effort in Wednesday's 4-1 victory. The club was batting .245 with a .310 on-base percentage after play May 29, but the Braves have since posted a .308 average and .362 OBP over a 6-5 stretch - the latter of which leads MLB.

Kelly Johnson returned from a 24-game stint on the disabled list with a 3-for-4 night.

"It was a good first day," Johnson told MLB's official website. "Obviously that's how you'd like to see it. It doesn't always work out that way, but it doesn't work out that way even when you've been playing 20 games in a row sometimes."

San Diego (30-31) has dropped five of six in Atlanta. Cory Spangenberg, batting .423 in his last eight games, was 3 for 4 the day one-time starting second baseman Jedd Gyorko was send to Triple-A El Paso.

Matt Kemp was out of the lineup, likely because his .170 career average at Turner Field is easily his worst at any NL ballpark.

Cashner (2-8, 4.05 ERA), trying to avoid matching a career high and becoming the first pitcher to nine losses, has allowed 12 earned runs in his last two starts after going 2-7 with a 3.00 ERA and 2.86 run-support average in his first 10. It's the only time Cashner has totaled more than eight earned runs in consecutive starts in the same season.

In Saturday's 9-7 win in Cincinnati, he gave up seven runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 but also matched a career high with five walks, fittingly missing out on the decision as the Padres' bats provided him with a new feeling of being bailed out for a change.

"This might be one of the best games I've been here for as a Padre," Cashner said.

He's never pitched in Atlanta but held the Braves to two runs and six hits to get a win in his only start against them in 2013. Chris Johnson is 1 for 7 with four strikeouts against Cashner, so Juan Uribe (8 for 20) could start at third base for the Braves.

Even with the recent struggles, his 7.79 ERA in his last three starts is only a shade higher than Julio Teheran's.

Teheran (4-2, 4.87) is 0-1 with a 7.64 ERA in that span, though he is coming off his longest outing of the year. The right-hander yielded four runs and five hits in 7 1-3 innings of Saturday's 5-4 home win over Pittsburgh.

Teheran is yet to lose at Turner Field this year, going 3-0 with a 2.53 ERA in five starts. He's gone six without a loss dating to last season, when he also had a career-best seven-start unbeaten streak at home.

The last on that run came in a 5-3 win over San Diego on July 26, but Teheran is 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in three starts against the Padres. Former teammate Justin Upton has a home run in two at-bats against him, but Clint Barmes (0 for 7) and Alexi Amarista (1 for 9) haven't been able to figure him out.

Wil Myers (wrist tendinitis) will come off the disabled list for Thursday's game after missing the last 28.

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