Touki Toussaint dueled Yu Darvish on his season debut to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres.
The Braves struck first in the second against Darvish. Abraham Almonte netted a brace in the right corner of the pitch, then came back to score on another two-goal hit from Guillermo Heredia. Heredia now has 22 doubles on the season which is the team’s second behind Ozzie Albies.
Toussaint was blocked in the first three innings and a walk to Victor Caratini with a put out in the third was his only flaw. He struggled in the fourth when he knocked out Jake Cronenworth, then served a brace for Manny Machado to put the runners in second and third with just one out.
Tommy Pham followed with a left fly sacrifice that scored Cronenworth to tie the game. Toussaint recovered and made Wil Myers fly away to escape further damage.
After Heredia’s brace in the second, Darvish struck out 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced before Freddie Freeman got a fastball and sent him to the opposite field for a solo home run to restore the head to Atlanta. Freeman continues to sizzle and has five homers in his last seven games.
Toussaint sat on the side in sequence in the fifth and sixth. He pulled out the first two hitters in the seventh before Myers and Caratini reached with back-to-back singles. Toussaint would then give way to Tyler Matzek who fell behind pinch hitter Jurickson Profar 3-1 but made him fly harmlessly to the right to complete the inning.
Toussaint was excellent in his debut in 2021. He was more aggressive than we’ve seen of him before and was able to keep a good Padres lineup unbalanced through the night. He allowed just three hits and a run in 6 2/3 innings. He took out five and walked two.
Chris Martin gave Fernando Tatis Jr. a single infield but left him stranded in second. Will Smith took out Pham and Eric Hosmer to start the ninth before Myers doubled down on the left line. However, Smith returned and asked Caratini to fight Albies to end the game.
Atlanta improves to 46-47 this season and will look for a series victory in Wednesday’s doubles program. Toussaint was his story but the bullpen inherited a lead and was able to protect him.