1969: Ollie Brown Leads Padres Past Atlanta

April 22, 1969, San Diego: Padres 8, Braves 4 (box score)

The Braves jumped out to an early lead against left-hander Dick Kelley. In the top of the second, after retiring the first two batters, Kelley served up singles to two of the weakest batters in the lineup, shortstop Sonny Jackson and pitcher Pat Jarvis. After a Felipe Alou walk loaded the bases, Felix Millan knocked a triple to left field, giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.

Ollie Brown doubled home Roberto Pena in the fourth to cut the Braves’ lead to 3-1. That score held into the bottom of the sixth. The Padres were the worst offensive team in the league, while the Braves came into Tuesday’s contest owning the second best record in all of baseball. A two-run defecit might have seemed insurmountable to some, but not to Brown and the Padres.

With one out in the sixth, Pena and Tony Gonzalez singled. Right-hander Claude Raymond replaced Jarvis on the mound. Brown, the first batter Raymond faced, proceeded to crank a three-run homer that gave San Diego its first lead of the game.

Raymond then walked Bill Davis and Cito Gaston, bringing Ed Spiezio to the plate. Spiezio singled, scoring Nate Colbert (who had come in to run for Davis) and extending the Padres’ lead to 5-3. Left-hander George Stone then replaced Raymond and walked Chris Cannizzaro to load the bases for pitcher Dick Selma.

Selma cooperated by grounding to short. Jackson fielded the ball cleanly and flipped to second baseman Millan for the second out, but Millan’s throw to first escaped Orlando Cepeda, allowing two runs to score. Tommy Dean then struck out to end the inning, but the damage had been done and the Padres now led, 7-3.

The Braves put a couple of runners on base in the seventh, but Tito Francona (father of current Red Sox manager Terry Francona) bounced back to the pitcher to end the threat. The Padres tacked on a run of their own in the bottom half when Colbert tripled home Brown.

Atlanta scored a final run in the top of the eighth. With one out, Hank Aaron doubled to center, plating Alou. But Selma retired Cepeda and Clete Boyer to end the inning before setting the Braves down in order in the ninth to seal the deal. In front of 6,275 fans, the Padres had won their fifth game as a franchise.

Trivia: Brown had Raymond’s number throughout their respective careers. In 17 plate appearances, Brown batted .400/.471/1.000. Of the 75 home runs Raymond allowed over parts of 12 seasons, three came off the bat of Brown. That tied Brown with Willie Mays and Willie Stargell for most homers hit off Raymond. (As an aside, Brown enjoyed some real nice seasons in San Diego. It’s a shame that he played right field and I therefore couldn’t include him among the Padres best by position in the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual; we may need to take a closer look at his contributions to the franchise.)

Elsewhere in the world: Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person ever to sail around the earth solo without stopping.

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