On a windy Saturday night, there was no repeat of what had transpired less than 24 hours earlier at Petco Park. There was no blowout of the Braves, no 20-hit laugher for the Padres. Instead, a contest dictated by pitching droned on past the four-hour mark. At last, in the bottom of the 12th, the Padres loaded the bases with three walks against Craig Kimbrel and Will Venable scorched a single to right, delivering a 3-2, walk-off victory.

“That’s how you have to beat a guy like that, make him work a little bit,” Venable, who collected the sixth walk-off plate appearance of his career, said of Kimbrel, widely regarded as the game’s best closer. “We were able to grind out some at-bats and it paid off for us.”

The decisive knock was preceded by a remarkable half inning for Tim Stauffer. In the top of the 12th, the Padres reliever performed the ultimate high-wire act after the Braves loaded the bases with no outs. First, Stauffer induced a grounder for a double play, third to home to first. Then Chris Nelson, who was making his first major league appearance at first, dove to stop Chris Johnson’s grounder down the line before flipping to Stauffer for the third out.

“Just watching games, playing third (Friday), Chris Johnson’s whole approach is he’s trying to hit the ball the other way with two strikes,” said Nelson, who made five appearances at first for Triple-A El Paso this year. “I was just thinking if the ball’s hit right, it’s going to be a line drive and I just had to be prepared for it.”

Said Padres manager Bud Black: “That was a game-saver.”

That the Padres (50-60) had managed to turn the game into a back-and-forth affair was noteworthy. For the vast majority of seven innings, Ervin Santana shut down the Padres, not far removed from a similar performance. Monday in Atlanta, the Braves right-hander tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts over eight scoreless innings, sealing the Padres’ third loss of a four-game series.

Five days later, Santana out-pitched Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy, who was making his return to the rotation after missing a start. While Kennedy struggled to rein in his pitch count, Santana cruised through six innings, shrugging off moderate pressure at several junctures.

In the seventh, Yangervis Solarte broke through. The Padres’ energetic newcomer, who has bottled the Padres’ recent surge in his compact frame, shot an RBI single through the left side, tying the game at 1-1. Following a single by Seth Smith and a two-out walk by Jedd Gyorko, Braves reliever Jordan Walden spiked a slider in the dirt. Solarte dashed home from third for the go-ahead run.