ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Sean Newcomb is maturing quickly in his second full season in the majors.
"I think I'm doing a better job of just managing everything in general," the 25-year-old left-hander said. "Looking back at old starts and taking all the positives from it rather than beating myself up about it or trying to overdo something the next start."
Newcomb pitched six scoreless innings and Charlie Culberson homered as the Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 1-0 Saturday.
The NL East leaders improved to 25-7 when their starter pitches at least six innings, and Newcomb has been a big reason for the success. A winner in eight of his past nine decisions, Newcomb (8-2) allowed two hits, walked one and struck out seven. He retired the last 13 batters he faced.
Dan Winkler faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Arodys Vizcaino earned his 14th save in 16 chances this season by working through a shaky ninth. Hunter Renfroe doubled with one out, and pinch-hitter Cory Spangenburg got plunked in the right side before Vizcaino struck out Franmil Reyes and retired Freddy Galvis on a grounder.
Jordan Lyles (2-4) allowed two baserunners — Dansby Swanson reached on a single in the first and Culberson singled in the second — before Culberson's made it 1-0 in the fifth. It was the third home run this season for the first-year Brave and former Calhoun High School standout.
Lyles turned in a solid performance after entering the game 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA in three career starts and one relief appearance against Atlanta. He gave up five hits and struck out six batters in his best outing since pitching 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Colorado on May 15.
"We got ahead of guys (in the count), unlike we did back home against these guys, but overall not too many hard-hit balls," Lyles said. "Just the one mistake to Charlie."
Braves starting pitchers began the day ranked fourth in the majors with a 3.35 ERA, and they improved to 5-1 with a 1.09 ERA in their past 10 home games. Newcomb has been particularly tough on San Diego, pitching six scoreless innings in each of his three career starts versus the Padres.
"He went out in the sixth and had a 3-0 count on that first hitter and just kind of locked in," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "It was really good. How he doesn't panic, how he's always staying pitch to pitch and just going to work. You expect that out of him now."
Jose Pirela doubled to begin the game and advanced to third before Newcomb struck out Christian Villaneuva and Franmil Reyes. That was the only trouble he faced.
"There were some power guys that I was trying to attack," Newcomb said. "I didn't want them to hit something soft and do something with it. I knew I'd get some in the top of the zone. I was doing that. It was good."
The Padres had won three of four and 12 of 17, but they dropped to 34-39, last in the NL West.
They didn't match up well again with Newcomb, who has six starts without allowing a run, the most in the majors this year.
"There's a profile of a guy that's tough for our group collectively — a guy that's throwing fastballs by us in the top of the zone," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "I think people can see that. We have to shorten up and connect and weren't able to do that today.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 1-for-3 and has hit safely in 26 of 27 games for a .377 average since May 19. He leads the National League in batting average, hits, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and total bases.
The Braves announced their fifth sellout this year and 41,916 tickets sold, the largest crowd in SunTrust Park's two-year history.
On the injury front, Atlanta left fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. ran the bases vigorously before the game and told Snitker immediately afterward he was "ready to go." Acuna has been sidelined since May 28 with a sprained left knee sprain and bruises to his knee and lower back. Snitker said he will report to extended spring training in Florida no later than Monday before beginning a rehab assignment.
Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz was placed on the 10-day disabled list with triceps tightness. After he threw a bullpen session Saturday, the team decided to give him extra rest in hopes of bringing him back next weekend.
Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran has been reinstated from the DL and will make his 14th start this season and 10th of his career against San Diego when he takes the mound today. Teheran, who missed more than a week with a sore thumb, is 0-3 with a 6.14 ERA in his past four starts.