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Must C Clutch: Ludwick's homer wins it for the Padres

SAN DIEGO -- There was no sense in having Ryan Ludwick break down every nuance of his 13th inning at-bat Monday against the Braves because, honestly, the Padres' left fielder couldn't recall them if he tried.

"It was kind of a blur," Ludwick said.

There was certainly nothing hazy about the result, though, as Ludwick's two-run, walk-off home run lifted the Padres to a 5-3 victory over the Braves before 18,288 at PETCO Park.

Ludwick's home run off Braves reliever Cristhian Martinez -- the second homer of the game for Ludwick -- allowed the Padres to snap out of a four-game skid that saw them score three runs in a sweep at the hands of the Phillies.

"That was good for us," said Padres starting pitcher Dustin Moseley, who was long gone by the time Ludwick sent a pitch into the first row of seats in left field, a hit that escaped a leaping attempt by Martin Prado. "I think we needed some excitement in the clubhouse."

And they needed some runs and victories -- two elements that have been in short supply so far this season for the Padres (9-14).

This was the first win in a night game at home for the Padres in eight attempts.

Solid pitching, however, has been readily available and was that was the case against the Braves (11-13), especially out of the bullpen, where relievers Chad Qualls, Mike Adams, Heath Bell, Luke Gregerson, Ernesto Frieri and Cory Luebke (1-1) allowed a combined three hits over seven innings with eight strikeouts.

"They pitched well. ... They've been doing it all season" Padres manager Bud Black said. "They've done a great job."

That relief work, including two innings at the end by Luebke, allowed the Padres to get into a position to win this one as Martinez issued a one-out walk to Nick Hundley, who helped send the game to extra innings with a game-tying RBI double in the seventh.

That set the stage for Ludwick, who homered to left field in the third off Braves pitcher Derek Lowe, who allowed two runs with eight strikeouts over six innings.

Ludwick, who entered the game hitting .184, got a pitch from Martinez he liked and sent it just over the wall in left field for his fourth career walk-off home run. Did it sound like a sure thing off the bat? Not at all, Ludwick said.

"I know if I hit it good or not, and when I hit it ... I didn't know if I hit it well enough," Ludwick said.

He did and, for one night, the Padres got to celebrate a rare offensive outburst. Well, at least by their standards. Remember, this is a team that entered the day having been shut out six times on the season, with the lowest team batting average (.212) in the Major Leagues.

"It was great to see Ryan get a couple of home runs," Black said. "I think we're seeing better at-bats and more consistent contact on the barrel of the bat. I know he's feeling better about his offensive game."

The Braves took a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning with Lowe in position for his third victory of the season before the Padres rallied to tie the game.

Cameron Maybin walked and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. One out later, Maybin scored the tying run on Hundley's RBI double to center field.

"There's a little bit of extra sting on me tonight because I know if I go out there and do my job in the seventh, we've got Jonny [Venters] and Craig [Kimbrel] and they're going to do their job and we're going to get out of here a whole lot earlier," said Braves relief pitcher Scott Linebrink, the former Padres arm who allowed the Hundley double.

"You put five extra innings on the bullpen. I just feel responsibility for all of that."

The Padres scored their first run of the season for Moseley -- who saw his ERA go from 1.40 to 1.99 -- thus ending a streak of 26 2/3 scoreless innings while he was pitching as Will Venable drove in a run with a ground ball in the second.

Moseley allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. He struck out two and didn't walk a batter.

San Diego first baseman Brad Hawpe broke an 0-for-18 funk with a double in the second inning. He later added a single for his second multihit game of the season.

"It was good to see Brad get some good swings," Black said.

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