Braves’ Touki Toussaint stymies Padres in season debut

Braves’ Touki Toussaint stymies Padres in season debut

Atlanta’s Touki Toussaint looked sharp in his first start of the season, pitching the Braves to a 2-1 win over the visiting San Diego Padres on Tuesday.

Toussaint (1-0), effectively using his curveball and off-speed pitches, pitched 6 2/3 innings — matching his career best — and allowed one run on three hits, two walks and recorded five strikeouts.

Toussaint appeared to tire in the seventh and was lifted after allowing a pair of two-out singles. Tyler Matzek entered the game and retired pinch-hitter Jurickson Profar on a lazy fly ball to center to end the threat.

Toussaint has been on the injured list since March 22 with a right shoulder strain. Toussaint was 2-1 with a 4.24 ERA in six minor league rehab starts and had allowed only two runs over his previous 12 innings with 18 strikeouts.

The much-maligned Atlanta bullpen was able to hold the lead. Matzek (one-third inning) and Chris Martin (one inning) had scoreless outings. Closer Will Smith worked around a two-out double by Wil Myers to earn his 19th save.

San Diego starter Yu Darvish (7-4), making his first start since July 8 because of back soreness, pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits, two walks and three strikeouts. Darvish dropped to 0-4 in his career against Atlanta.

Freddie Freeman put the Braves ahead to stay with an opposite-field home run in the sixth off Darvish. It was Freeman’s 22nd home run and his fifth over the last seven games. Freeman went 2-for-4 and raised his average to .284.

The Padres threatened in the eighth inning against reliever Martin. Fernando Tatis Jr. singled and advanced to second base on a grounder, but was stranded when Manny Machado flew out to deep center field.

The Braves got a run in the second inning on Guillermo Heredia’s RBI single, but the Padres tied the game at 1-1 on Tommy Pham’s sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.

The teams will complete the three-game series with a doubleheader on Wednesday.

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