Nelson Cruz second-oldest Padre to homer in 10-2 rout of Braves

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

ATLANTA – Nelson Cruz isn’t eager to talk about his age.

The slugger just wants to produce whenever he’s in the lineup, and he is proving he still belongs in the major leagues.

Cruz hit a three-run homer and drove in six runs, and the San Diego Padres beat the Atlanta Braves 10-2 on Sunday night for their third consecutive victory.

At 42 years and 282 days, Cruz became the second-oldest player to homer for the Padres, just one day younger than Rickey Henderson was when he went deep on Oct. 4, 2001. It was the most RBIs for Cruz since he drove in seven on July 26, 2020, for Minnesota against the Chicago White Sox.

“It’s nice, especially against the Braves,” Cruz said. “They have a really good team, so it shows how deep we are as a team. To win three of four against the Braves tells a lot.”

Seth Lugo pitched six effective innings for San Diego, and Ha-Seong Kim hit a two-run homer. Manny Machado finished with three hits.

The Padres (6-4), who advanced to the NL Championship Series last year, have won three straight for the second time this season.

The NL East champion Braves (6-4) have lost eight of the last 11 games to the Padres at Truist Park.

Cruz, a 19-year veteran, made it 4-0 in the third with his 461st career homer.

“I’m not going to put context to age, but he’s doing very well,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s got nine RBIs for us already right now, so trying to get him some good matchups.”

Xander Bogaerts singled and advanced to third on Machado’s single when right fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. took too long to throw to second. One out later, Cruz connected for the second time this season, hitting a drive to left-center off rookie Dylan Dodd‘s 83-mph slider.

Trent Grisham‘s third homer put San Diego up 5-0 in the fourth. Grisham and Bogaerts have reached safely in all 10 games this season.

Dodd (1-1), making his second career start, fell behind 6-0 in the fifth when Juan Soto and Cruz hit consecutive doubles. The lefty gave up 10 hits and seven runs in 4 1/3 innings.

“I obviously didn’t pitch the way I wanted to,” Dodd said. “I was kind of really searching for another pitch other than the fastball. I started to show the changeup later in the game and thought that was something I should have turned to earlier once I realized the slider wasn’t very good for me today.”

Lugo (2-0) made his fourth career start and 28th appearance against Atlanta after spending the last seven seasons with the New York Mets. He gave up five hits and one run with four walks and five strikeouts. It was his first start against the Braves since 2017.

“I’ve been whomped up here quite a few times that I remember,” Lugo said. “I know that lineup is really tough to get through and to shut them down the way I did is really gratifying.”

The Padres took a 10-1 lead in the sixth on a two-run single by Cruz, who was hit in the foot by a pitch from Danny Young in the ninth.

Acuña and Matt Olson each drove in run for Atlanta. Olson’s 11 RBIs are the most in the majors for a first baseman.


San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. went 1 for 4 with two walks for Triple-A El Paso in an 8-2 win at Sacramento. Tatis is hitting .231 in 13 at-bats with a double, home run and two RBIs in four games with the Chihuahuas. Barring any rainouts, he would be eligible to play for the Padres on April 20 after completing an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.


Atlanta reliever Lucas Luetge was charged with an automatic ball and started the count 1-0 for taking too long with Bogaerts batting in the sixth. He walked Bogaerts four pitches later.


Padres: OF David Dahl was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right quadriceps strain, and utilityman Brandon Dixon was recalled from Triple-A El Paso.

Braves: C Travis d’Arnaud was placed on the seven-day injured list after sustaining a concussion in Saturday’s game. C Chadwick Tromp was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to take his place.


Padres: RHP Yu Darvish (0-0, 1.80 ERA) will face Mets RHP Max Scherzer (1-1, 6.35 ERA) on Monday when the teams open a three-game series in New York.

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will face Cincinnati’s Graham Ashcraft (1-0, 1.29 ERA) on Monday night in the first of a three-game home series.

Nationals blow 6-run lead, rebound to beat Phillies 8-7

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WASHINGTON (AP) Lane Thomas singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals sent the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight loss, winning 8-7 after blowing a six-run lead.

The defending NL champion Phillies have just five victories in their last 18 games and are tied with the Nationals at the bottom of the NL East at 25-32.

“We’ve got to overcome it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to play better, get consistent in all phases and keep moving forward.”

Alex Call drew a two-out walk against Connor Brogdon (2-1) in the eighth, stole second on a low pitch that catcher JT Realmuto couldn’t make a throw on and scored on Thomas’ single to right center.

“The way Lane’s swinging the bat, if you can get on second base, we can win the game,” Call said. “I look over and the ball’s in the dirt, he doesn’t catch it. Now I’m saying: ‘All right, Lane. Come on!’”

Kyle Finnegan (3-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory, stranding the tying run on second in the ninth.

Nick Castellanos homered twice, singled, doubled and drove in five runs for Philadelphia, which had scored just three runs in its past three games.

“There’s definitely a lot of positives as a group,” Castellanos said. “Showing some fight. It would have been really, really easy to lay down and allow the way the game started to be the way that it finished.”

Down 7-1 after four innings, Philadelphia tied it at 7 in the eighth. Brandon Marsh worked a nine-pitch walk against Mason Thompson leading off, and Drew Ellis singled with one out. Finnegan came on to face Kyle Schwarber, who hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Abrams fielded it behind it behind second base, touched second for one out, but threw wildly to first and Marsh came home with the tying run.

Castellanos’s second homer, a two-run shot to center in the sixth, pulled the Phillies to 7-3 and Marsh added an RBI single in the inning.

In the seventh, Schwarber doubled with one out and Bryson Scott reached on an infield single. Hunter Harvey came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. Castellanos singled to center scoring two runs to make it 7-6.

Luis Garcia homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have won seven of 12.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler, coming off eight shutout innings against Atlanta, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“This one’s on me really,” Wheeler said. “Guys battled back. Just couldn’t finish it out. We know who we have in this room and what we’ve got to do.”

Josiah Gray gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Candelario doubled just beyond the reach of left fielder Schwarber to drive in the first of Washington’s two runs in the first.

In the second, Abrams hit a one-out drive to deep center that Marsh misplayed into a double. With two outs and two on, Candelario doubled off the wall in right center to make it 5-0.

Garcia ended Wheeler’s night with a solo homer in the fourth.

“When you come out the way we did, you’ve got to tack on,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It didn’t happen tonight, but we got one more than the other guys.”


Candelario is 9 for 26 (.346) with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored in his last seven games.


Phillies: Thomson said RHP Taijuan Walker played catch Friday and there are “no worries about his next start.” In a four-inning outing against the Mets on Thursday, Walker’s sinker velocity averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season. His fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.

Nationals: OF Victor Robles (back spasms) took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the injured list. … LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) gave up a run on two hits and struck out two batters in 2/3 of an inning working his second straight night for Class A Fredericksburg.


Phillies: LHP Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20) will start a bullpen game on Saturday.

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.57) went seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing – a no decision against the Royals.

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