Santana tries to pitch Braves to series win over Padres

( - Right-hander Ervin Santana looks to secure a third straight winning start as well as a series victory for the Atlanta Braves on Monday afternoon in the finale of a four-game set with the San Diego Padres.

Santana has won four of his last five starts and bested the Miami Marlins on Wednesday, allowing a run over 7 1/3 innings. He worked around six hits and three walks while striking out 10. It was the most that he had fanned in a single game since sitting down 11 batters on strikes back on April 14.

The victory improved the 31-year-old to 9-6 on the year with a 3.87 earned run average.

"Ervin pitched well. He had great stuff today," Atlanta's B.J. Upton said.

Santana will face the Padres for the third time in his career today, having gone 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in the previous two meetings.

Former outfielder Jason Lane will make a spot start for the Padres today in place of Ian Kennedy and it will be the first of his major league career. The 37-year-old was an outfielder for the Houston Astros and San Diego from 2002-07, then was out of the majors until making a pair of relief appearances in June with the Padres.

Lane, a left-hander, yielded one hit over a total of 4 1/3 innings last month and has gone 6-8 with a 4.67 ERA in 19 starts at Triple-A El Paso this year.

The Padres are hopeful that Kennedy will miss just one start due to soreness in his left oblique.

San Diego won the opener of this series on Friday, but Atlanta has countered with back-to-back wins and sits 1 1/2 games out of first place in the NL East.

The Braves took control of Sunday's meeting with a six-run third inning in an eventual 8-3 win. Upton went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, while Justin Upton, Chris Johnson and Ryan Doumit all drove in two runs each.

Mike Minor won at home for the first time since May 19, charged with three runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"Felt good to get a win. To go six innings plus was a lot better than the three or four that I've been throwing," Minor said. "I just feel good right now would be going deeper in the game and giving the bullpen a break.

Atlanta had lost four of five prior to the consecutive wins, while the Padres have now followed up three straight victories with a losing streak.

Yangervis Solarte and Rene Rivera both homered for San Diego. For Solarte, it was his first with the Padres since being acquired in earlier last week in the deal that sent former All-Star Chase Headley to the New York Yankees.

Eric Stults lost his major league-leading 13th game after yielding six runs in six innings of work. He didn't allow a hit besides the third inning.

"I think stuff was the same," Stults said when asked about the third inning. "I executed a few pitches but just didn't get outs. That's the way this game goes. It's frustrating to feel you threw the ball well but the result didn't really show it."

San Diego has beaten the Braves in eight of the last 12 matchups.