Braves’ Santana wins pitching duel vs. Padres’ ex-outfielder Lane
Ervin Santana knew in the very first inning his slider would be tough to hit.
It took a while to know if that would be good enough for a win.
In the seventh, Evan Gattis finally came through.
Gattis hit a tiebreaking homer off outfielder-turned-pitcher Jason Lane and that was all Santana and the Atlanta Braves needed, beating San Diego 2-0 on Monday for their third straight win.
”I’ve got you on the plane,” Santana jokingly told Gattis, as they prepared to leave on a West Coast road trip. ”I’ll get you anything you want.”
Santana (10-6) threw five-hit ball over eight innings, matching his career high with 11 strikeouts. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 32nd save.
”I kept everybody off balance with the slider,” Santana said. ”That was one of the keys.”
Gattis led off the seventh with his first homer since June 18, before he went on the disabled list for nearly three weeks with a bulging disk in his back. He also drove in Atlanta’s other run with a two-out single off Dale Thayer in the eighth.
”He’s a great hitter,” teammate Andrelton Simmons said of Gattis. ”He’s going to get back to doing what he was doing at the beginning of the year.”
Called up from Triple-A to fill in for ailing Ian Kennedy, Lane (0-1) shut down the Braves through six innings. But when the 37-year-old left-hander hung an 0-1 slider, Gattis drove it into the left-field seats for his 17th homer of the season.
”It’s a little frustrating to make a mistake like that,” said Lane, who was making his first big league start as a pitcher. ”There’s not a lot of room for error. And it cost me.”
Lane was a journeyman outfielder with Houston and the Padres from 2002-07. He became a full-time pitcher before the 2012 season, looking to get back to the big leagues in a different position. He threw 4-1/3 scoreless innings for San Diego in two June relief appearances, and extended his scoreless streak to 10-1/3 innings before Gattis’ long ball.
”The Padres gave me this opportunity,” Lane said. ”Beyond that, I’m not sure what the situation will be. But I’m ready to go.”