They worked over Petco Park as best they could, outhitting the Padres in every game, finishing ahead 25-20 overall.
Yet they were swept, losing 5-3 on Wednesday. Edinson Volquez struck out a season-high nine in seven innings as he rebounded from the worst start of his career and Chris Denorfia hit a two-run homer.
The Padres, who’ve won six of eight, swept the Braves in San Diego for the first time since May 19-21, 2005.
The Braves, who’ve lost five of seven, were swept for just the second time this season. The first was April 26-28 at Detroit.
“Nothing to take away from the Padres, but this was a weird series,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We outhit them all three games, but we lost all three. Let’s not forget that.”
“The whole series, we hit rockets. I mean rockets. I’m not taking anything away from the San Diego Padres. They still beat us three straight. We just didn’t catch anything,” he said.
Denorfia homered to left field with one out in the fifth off Paul Maholm, his third. Everth Cabrera was on second after hitting a single and stealing his 30th base, tops in the majors.
Volquez (5-5) bounced back after allowing nine runs and 11 hits, both career highs, in just 2 1/3 innings in a 10-9 loss at Colorado on Friday. He held the Braves to one run and six hits and walked three. His nine strikeouts were his most since Aug. 20.
In his previous two starts, Volquez had allowed a combined 13 earned runs and 17 hits in just 7 1/3 innings.
Rookie Nick Vincent, the third Padres’ pitcher in the ninth, struck out Justin Upton looking for the final out with runners on first and third for his first career save. It was his first opportunity this season and second of his career.
“We had the right guy at the plate in the ninth with Justin,” Gonzalez said. “That’s the way baseball is sometimes. You run into a hot team and you don’t get any breaks. That’s just the way it goes.”
Luke Gregerson got the first two outs but also allowed Jordan Schafer’s RBI single and was pulled when the Padres couldn’t turn a double play on Andrelton Simmons’ grounder. Lefty Tommy Layne came on to face Jason Heyward, who singled up the middle to move Simmons to third.
“We thought we did all we could,” Upton said. “We swung the bats well, we played solid defense. Sometimes the game doesn’t go your way, and it didn’t work out for us.”
Heyward said the Padres “had some outfield hits that fell in, some infield hits that kept innings going, and their starting pitchers threw well enough to stay in the game pretty long.”
“We fought but sometimes a little too late,” Heyward added. “We hit some balls hard. Some hops didn’t go our way. We put up some big innings, which I know we can do. I’m not too worried about this team in terms of scoring runs.”
Paul Maholm (7-5) loaded the bases three times, including twice in the three-run first and for a final time with two outs in the sixth before making way for David Carpenter.
Maholm allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings while striking out three and walking four.
Maholm gave up three singles and two walks in the first, including a bases-loaded walk to Kyle Blanks with one out followed by Logan Forsythe’s two-run single. After Jesus Guzman singled to load the bases again, Yasmani Grandal lined to shortstop and Forsythe was doubled off second. One of the runs was unearned due to second baseman Dan Uggla’s throwing error.
Upton drove in Atlanta first two runs, including hitting his 15th homer, a solo shot with one out in the eighth off Joe Thatcher. The ball went an estimated 430 feet, landing in the balcony on the third level of the Western Metal Supply Co. brick warehouse and bouncing into the second deck in left field. Upton hit an RBI single in the third.
NOTES: Atlanta returns home for an off-day today before opening a three-game series against San Francisco. The probables are LHP Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.58) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (3-6, 2.87).