Solarte's 3-run homer carries Padres over Braves, 7-2
SAN DIEGO (AP) No matter how dreary things are for the San Diego Padres, Yangervis Solarte always has a smile and some pep in his step.
He's got a pretty good bat, too, which he showed with a three-run homer that helped the Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 7-2 Monday night in a matchup of last-place teams.
Matt Kemp drove in two runs for San Diego.
The Braves lost their fifth straight game and dropped to 16-41, worst in the majors. The Padres improved to 24-35.
Solarte homered to right field off Williams Perez (2-2) with one out in the third inning, his fourth. Wil Myers and Kemp were aboard on singles.
''He's got life,'' Padres manager Andy Green said about Solarte. ''He's got a lot of energy in the lineup. You can see the passion out on the baseball field. He loves playing baseball. I think it's infectious in that way. He's swinging the bat really well. The home run was big.''
Solarte returned to the 25-man roster on May 21 after missing 38 games with a strained right hamstring.
''I thought he was swinging the bat well before he got hurt,'' Green said. ''It was a big loss for us when he went down. We need that left-handed aspect of his bat.''
Solarte hit a towering shot that landed a few rows behind a party deck atop the right-field wall.
''I was just trying to hit the ball straight, to get a double,'' he said. ''I got a home run. That's much better. And we won. That's the most important.''
Solarte said it's not his nature to be quiet.
''I try to talk to everybody and pull everybody together,'' he said. ''That's the most important for me. If you play happy, everything is happy, you know?''
Kemp hit a sacrifice fly in the first and an RBI double with one out in the fifth. Perez left with soreness in his right triceps after pitching to Kemp and was replaced by Casey Kelly, traded from San Diego for catcher Christian Bethancourt in December.
Solarte's comebacker hit Kelly's glove and practically knocked him over, and Melvin Upton Jr. followed with an RBI grounder to make it 6-1.
Kelly was recalled earlier Monday from Triple-A Gwinnett, his third promotion this season. To make roster room, the Braves optioned righty John Gant.
Interim manager Brian Snitker said the Braves hope to know more about Perez on Tuesday, and hope he'll be able to make his next start.
''It seemed more like it was a cramp to me, the way he was describing it,'' Snitker said.
''The three-run homer I think just wasn't a real good pitch. It didn't break well, didn't have a lot of teeth in it. Just kind of stayed right there for him to hit.''
In the first inning, Perez got Solarte to ground out on a changeup.
''My first pitch I threw him a fastball; after that he was waiting offspeed. He just jumped on it,'' Perez said.
Padres lefty Christian Friedrich (3-1) held the Braves to two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two.
Perez yielded six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out two and walked none.
Friedrich allowed Jeff Francoeur's RBI groundout in the first. He left after giving up Ender Inciarte's single with two outs in the seventh that put runners on first and second. Carlos Villanueva came on and allowed Chase d'Arnaud's third hit, an RBI single.
San Diego's Derek Norris hit an RBI double in the eighth.
Padres: Austin Hedges is catching games at extended spring training and could be back at Triple-A El Paso within the week. He had surgery on his left hand April 27.
Braves: RHP Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.55 ERA) is scheduled to start the middle game of the series.
Padres: RHP Colin Rea (3-2, 4.85) pitches Tuesday night for San Diego.