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Braves hope for another strong starting effort in finale with Mets

(SportsNetwork.com) - With injuries to both Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy the Atlanta Braves starting rotation was thought to be in shambles. That hasn't been the case and on Thursday the Braves will try to claim another series win in the rubber match of a three-game set with the New York Mets at Turner Field.

Ervin Santana was the latest starter to step up on Wednesday, as he tossed eight scoreless innings in his Braves debut and Atlanta eked out a 4-3 win.

Santana (1-0) struck out six and scattered three hits for the Braves, who snapped a two-game skid.

"We went out with a game plan of getting ahead," Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis said of what made Santana so effective.

Santana was signed to a one-year deal on March 12 shortly after Atlanta lost Medlen and Beachy for the year due to elbow surgery. Mike Minor is also on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left shoulder.

Despite the injuries in the rotation, though, Atlanta's starters are pitching to a 1.37 ERA and holding opponents to a .172 clip. Those numbers could get a boost, as the Mets' .190 average is among the worst in the league.

Right-hander David Hale has had a part in Atlanta's low team ERA and will be on the hill Thursday. Hale did not get a decision against Washington on Friday, but was terrific despite the flu, as he scattered five hits over five scoreless innings in his team's 2-1 win.

Hale, who has never faced the Mets, now has a 0.56 ERA in just three big league starts.

New York, meanwhile, will turn to righty Jenrry Mejia, who was spectacular against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday. Mejia gave up a run and four hits in six innings of that one and also struck out eight to get the win.

Mejia allowed four runs over five innings in his only start against Atlanta, a 6-2 loss Sept. 30, 2012.

Atlanta went 10-9 versus the Mets in 2013.