Opposing a former outfielder, the Braves offense was able to muster only two runs, but Ervin Santana was electric this afternoon and matched a career high in strikeouts to lead the Braves to a 2-0 victory.
Santana and Jason Lane matched zero for zero until the seventh inning when Evan Gattis took Lane deep for his 17th home run of the season. It was Gattis' first homer since returning from the disabled list. The Braves need his bat to be what it was in the first half going forward, so seeing him crush a soft tossing lefty was great to see. Jason Heyward left the game early with back issues. He is currently listed as day-to-day.
It is a bit worrisome that the offense struggled so much against Lane, but with Heyward missing the game and Tommy La Stella on the bench, the offense did not have its A lineup out there for most of the afternoon.
While Gattis collected both RBI, Santana was the real story of the game. Yes the Padres have a very weak offense, but Santana threw eight dominant innings while striking out 11 batters and walking none. This was probably the best outing a Braves pitcher has had this year, and Santana's peripherals suggest he has been close to as good as Teheran this season.
As Ian mentioned on twitter in response to Gabe Kapler, one reason for Teheran's success is that he utilizes the high quality outfield defense of the Braves while Santana relies on the less than stellar infield defense. Either way, this is now back-to-back 10+ strikeout outings for Santana, who will face the Padres in San Diego this weekend.