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MIA@ATL: Santana fans 10, allows one run over 7 1/3

Nearly 10 years ago, Jason Lane played against Atlanta in his first career postseason game as an outfielder for the Houston Astros, homering in Game 1 of the 2004 National League Division Series, which the Astros eventually clinched with an epic 18-inning Game 4 victory on their way to the World Series.

On Monday, the 37-year-old will make his first Major League start as a pitcher as the Padres face the Braves, who haven't won a playoff series since.

Lane returns as a fill-in for Ian Kennedy, who suffered a minor oblique injury in his last outing and is expected to miss just one turn through the Padres' rotation.

As a result, Lane will make his second trip to the Majors this season. In two appearances with the Padres in June, the left-hander impressed by allowing just one hit in 4 1/3 innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.

"Jason did a great job," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He did what we needed him to do. … He kept people off-balance."

In 19 starts for Triple-A El Paso this year, Lane has a 6-8 record with a 4.67 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. He's also shown that his hitting skills haven't diminished, logging a stellar .419/.490/.721 slash line with three homers and 10 RBIs in 43 at-bats.

Lane was an All-American as a two-way player during his senior season at Southern Cal in 1998. He hit a grand slam and earned the win on the mound in the College World Series title game that year against Arizona State.

"The thing with Jason's case, he pitched as an amateur a great deal at a major collegiate program," Black said. "As his career moved on and he was going back to the Minors, [pitching] was something he always had in the back of his mind."

Lane will make his starting debut opposite Ervin Santana, who's had an up-and-down debut season with the Braves. Santana began the year 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA in six outings before compiling a 6.44 ERA as the Braves lost five of his next six starts.

But he's recently shown signs that he's regaining his good form, compiling six quality starts in his last seven outings. He stifled the Marlins his last time out, giving up only one run and striking out 10 in 7 1/3 innings.

Santana was especially comfortable with his slider in that performance, throwing it 47 times in 110 pitches. Santana got 10 swings and misses at the breaking pitch against Miami.

"It was pretty good," Santana said. "I throw [it] in any count for a ball, for strikes, and I was very confident in throwing that pitch today."

Santana has lasted at least five innings in all of his outings this year, and at least six innings in 17 of his 19 starts.

Padres: Smith heating up again in July
Seth Smith has had a productive month of July at the plate for the Padres as his .423 batting average (22-for-52) and .492 on-base percentage going into Sunday's game were the best in Major League Baseball, while his .673 slugging percentage ranked fourth.

Smith's 1.165 OPS (on-base plus slugging) entering Sunday is the second-best mark in baseball, behind only Jayson Werth of the Nationals, who has posted a 1.276 OPS this month.

Smith, who agreed to a two-year, $13 million contract extension earlier this month, reached the .300 mark on Saturday with three hits -- the first time he reached .300 since June 8 -- before a fruitless pinch-hit appearance on Sunday dropped him back down to .299.

Smith's hot July comes on the heels of a rough June where he hit just .203.

Braves: La Stella continues strong rookie campaign
Just two months into his Major League career, Tommy La Stella is showing the plate discipline of a grizzled veteran and generally doing his best to help Braves fans forget about Dan Uggla.

Despite playing in just 53 games in 2014, La Stella is first among NL rookies in walks (22) and on-base percentage (.363), and his .288 batting average ranks second in that group.

His stellar play has continued in this series. On Sunday, he was 1-for-2 with two walks, two runs scored and an RBI single in the third inning that gave the Braves the lead for good in Atlanta's 8-3 win.

On Saturday, he had the third three-hit game since making his Major League debut on May 28. All other Atlanta second basemen combined for just one three-hit game over the last two seasons.

Worth noting
• Kennedy is going to throw a side session on Tuesday or Wednesday. Black said that Kennedy could've made his start Monday if absolutely necessary, but the team chose to take the cautious route with the possible trade target.

• With his solo homer on Saturday, Yangervis Solarte became the first player in history to record an RBI in each of his first five games with the Padres.

• Jason Heyward has reached base in 16 straight games. He has a .375 on-base percentage since moving from leadoff to the fifth spot in the order.

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