ATLANTA -- Not long after watching rookie Tom Layne breeze through the eighth inning on Tuesday -- striking out the side no less -- Padres' catcher John Baker pondered the grandeur of Layne's Major League debut.
"Apparently, it's really easy to pitch in the big leagues," Baker said with a smirk.
It certainly looked that way, as the 27-year-old Layne -- promoted earlier in the day from Double-A San Antonio -- struck out Brian McCann and Dan Uggla looking before getting pinch-hitter Tyler Pastornicky swinging to end the inning.
Sixteen pitches, 11 for strikes, and three strikeouts made for one impressive debut for the left-handed Layne, who one night earlier was trying to get outs in a game against the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.
"It was an epic debut by him," Baker said. "There's not much more than you can say."
Layne entered the game in the eighth inning of a game the Braves would win, 6-0. He admitted to some nerves as he walked down the steps that led from the bullpen to the field. By the time he arrived as the mound, those nerves had subsided -- somewhat.
"I had a lot of fun. It was cool," Layne said. "I never thought it was going to happen. And to be honest, I don't know if I've ever struck out the side."
He impressed his manager, Bud Black, who just met Layne for the first time earlier in the day when he arrived in Atlanta.
"I didn't know what to expect," Black said. "A guy out of nowhere comes in and strikes out the side. That's a great feather in his cap.
"Anytime you take the mound in your first Major League game, you never know how it's going to play out. To come in and strike out the side, that's pretty good stuff. Good for him."
It was just another significant first for a Padres rookie this season. On June 30, catcher Yasmani Grandal hit two home runs in his first Major League start. Then there was catcher Eddy Rodriguez's home run in Cincinnati on Aug. 2 in his first Major League at-bat.
"Let's just bring guys up just so something good happens," Black joked.