ATLANTA — Matt Wisler wasn’t happy when he was sent back to Triple-A Gwinnett in late July.
Now he sees the one-month stay in the minors was just what he needed to reclaim his pitching form.
Wisler set a career high with 10 strikeouts in six innings, Gordon Beckham drove in two runs with a pinch-hit bases-loaded double in the sixth and the Atlanta Braves beat the San Diego Padres 8-1 on Wednesday night.
The Braves (50-83) no longer have the majors’ worst record. Minnesota (49-84) fell below Atlanta with its 13th straight loss, 8-4 to Cleveland. The Twins and Braves began the day tied in the race for the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft.
Wisler (6-11) allowed one run on only four hits. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts since returning to Atlanta on Aug. 25.
“I think it was in my best interests to go down,” Wisler said. “… I got to just clear my head and go down and make some adjustments without really worrying about it too much.”
Wisler said one key adjustment has helped him gain a better downhill angle on his slider.
“I think that’s where most of the strikeouts came,” he said.
He also adjusted his approach on the mound and says he’s not determined to “throw everything I’ve got every pitch.”
Beckham said Wisler “has come back competing instead of thinking.”
The Braves led only 2-1 before Beckham’s two-run double off Kevin Quackenbush. Ender Inciarte added a two-run single in the four-run inning.
Oswaldo Arcia’s fourth-inning homer gave the Padres their only run.
Paul Clemens (2-4) was hurt by four walks as he allowed two runs, one earned, in three-plus innings. He left with no outs and the bases loaded in the fourth before Jose Dominguez struck out Dansby Swanson and Wisler hit into a double play.
“I felt really good in the bullpen, really good early in the game,” Clemens said. “And then things kind of got away from me.”
Clemens, signed by Atlanta in the 2008 draft, made his first career appearance against the Braves.
The Braves and Padres plan to make only a small number of moves on Thursday when rosters can be expanded.
Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said catcher A.J. Pierzynski (left hamstring strain) and RHP Chris Withrow (right elbow inflammation) are expected to come off the disabled list.
The Padres plan to recall left-hander Ryan Buchter. Infielder Alexi Amarista (left hamstring strain) is expected to join the team Friday in Los Angeles. The team recalled catcher Hector Sanchez from Triple-A El Paso on Wednesday.
BLAIR PULLED FROM ROTATION
Braves rookie right-hander Aaron Blair won’t make his next scheduled start on Saturday at Philadelphia. Snitker said Blair, 0-6 with an 8.23 ERA, instead will work on his mechanics with pitching coach Roger McDowell “for a while.” A starter has not been named for Saturday’s game.
Snitker said he didn’t know if Blair will make another start this season.
Padres catcher Christian Bethancourt was placed on the 15-day DL after he suffered a left intercostal strain on a swing in Tuesday night’s game. “I didn’t know It was that painful,” he said of the injury. … RHP Tyson Ross, on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, felt discomfort following his first rehab start last week. Manager Andy Green said it was “not a major setback.”
Padres: RHP Jarred Cosart will make his sixth start with Padres, and 10th overall of the season. Cosart was traded to San Diego from the Marlins on July 29.
Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz, coming off a win over the Giants, will make his second career start against San Diego and first of the season.