ATLANTA -- A right foot injury has taken away Logan Forsythe's ability to be an everyday player for the Padres in the last month of the season.
Forsythe has to pick his spots to contribute, and he made the most of his opportunity against the Braves.
Forsythe's pinch-hit, go-ahead single off Scott Downs drove in Tommy Medica.
"It's not an injury where you can go out every day and perform like you want to," Forsythe said.
Forsythe said watching the single fall in centre field "absolutely" made the pain in his foot go away.
"When I got around first, I was like, it's really rewarding, especially getting a win here," Forsythe said. "That's just big for us, especially in the first day (of the three-game series)."
San Diego rallied after Hale pitched five scoreless innings and struck out nine, the most by a Braves pitcher in his first major league game.
"He was outstanding," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "We couldn't ask for anything more. It couldn't have been scripted better."
The Padres scored two runs in the seventh and tied the game on Headley's leadoff homer off Jordan Walden (4-3) in the eighth.
Walden walked Medica, who moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Forsythe's single.
Padres manager Bud Black had Alexi Armarista, a left-handed hitter, introduced as a pinch-hitter but opted for Forsythe after Gonzalez brought in Downs, a left-hander.
"Downs is a good pitcher," Black said. "We just wanted to get a right-handed bat."
Headley said the Padres "kept battling and having good at-bats. I felt we kept the pressure on, even when they made pitches to get guys out, it was just a battle."
Kennedy didn't allow a hit until Upton led off the third with his 25th homer to left field. Freddie Freeman walked and scored on McCann's two-run homer, a high shot to right field.
Kennedy has allowed 25 homers, the second-highest total in the National League.
Medica scored on pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman's infield single off Luis Avilan. After Will Venable's grounder forced out Cedeno at the plate, Chris Denorfia's fly ball to right field off David Carpenter drove in Rivera, cutting Atlanta's lead to 3-2.
Hale struck out the side in the first, including Headley and Kyle Blanks with runners on first and third following singles by Denorfia and Jedd Gyorko.
The clutch pitching by the rookie in the first inning set a pattern. Hale struck out Gyorko to end the third with a runner on second and fanned Cedeno to end the fourth with a runner on third.
Hale, from Marietta, Ga., near Atlanta, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Sept. 5. He filled in for left-hander Paul Maholm, who was skipped in the rotation due to a sore left elbow. An MRI on Wednesday showed no serious injury.
Downs, a left-hander, was cleared after being examined before the game for a non-displaced fracture to the tip of his right ring finger.
NOTES: Hale, from Princeton University, struck out Venable, also from Princeton, for his first out. ... Kenshin Kawakami (2009) and Bob Dresser (1902) each had eight strikeouts in their first major league games for the Braves. ... Padres manager Bud Black said 1B Yonder Alonso, who hurt his right hand on a check swing on Aug. 30, is "eligible to play defence" if needed but is not ready to hit. ... Braves OF Jason Heyward wore a protective flap on his helmet as he took batting practice on the field for the first time since his right jaw was fractured when hit by a pitch from the Mets' Jonathon Niese on Aug. 21. The Braves hope Heyward can return before the end of the regular season. "Nothing is holding me back," Heyward said ... Braves RHP Kris Medlen will face Padres LHP Robbie Erlin on Saturday night.