ATLANTA — Javier Vazquez pitched seven scoreless innings, everyone in the Atlanta lineup contributed to a 17-hit attack and the Braves romped past the San Diego Padres 9-1 on Thursday night, avoiding a sweep and moving closer in the wild-card race.
Vazquez (11-9) snapped his first two-game losing streak of the season, allowing five hits, and went on cruise control after the Braves put up five runs in the second. He struck out six, didn't walk anyone and threw only 88 pitches before turning it over to the bullpen.
Atlanta closed within 4½ games of wild-card leader Colorado, which lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2.
Every Atlanta starter, Vazquez included, had at least one hit. Adam LaRoche homered, hot-hitting Matt Diaz drove in two runs from the leadoff spot and Omar Infante reached base four times. Even Chipper Jones, mired in an extended slump, managed two hits.
The last-place Padres were going for their first sweep since May, but they didn't put up much of a fight in this one.
Clayton Richard (3-1) was rocked for nine hits and six runs in 2 1-3 innings and the Padres offense returned to its anemic ways, pushing only one runner past second base after scoring 12 runs the previous night.
Vazquez, who had allowed a total of nine runs in his two previous starts, completely stifled the next-to-lowest-scoring team in the NL. He has allowed three runs or less in 19 of his 26 starts.
Will Venable homered off Buddy Carlyle in the ninth to ruin Atlanta's shutout bid.
After an early evening storm delayed the first pitch 21 minutes, the Braves sent 10 batters to the plate their second time up. Vazquez, Diaz and Brian McCann had RBI singles, Martin Prado chipped in with a sacrifice fly and an error by Venable in right field allowed another run to score.
Diaz finished off Richard in the third with another run-scoring hit that made it 6-0.
NOTES: Jones went 2-for-3 with two walks. He has three hits in his last 35 at-bats. ... Then there's Diaz, who batted leadoff for the second straight game. He had three hits and is 18 for 36 over his last nine games. ... Venable's homer kept the Padres from their 11th shutout of the season. ... The Braves called up Carlyle before the game and optioned RHP Manny Acosta to Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Atlanta left at least one runner on in every inning.