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Braves try to find footing out west vs. Padres

(SportsNetwork.com) - So far, the Atlanta Braves are not enjoying their western vacation.

They turn to Ervin Santana to stop the win-loss hemorrhaging on Saturday night when they visit Petco Field for game two of a three-game series with the San Diego Padres.

The Braves have lost the first four games of the coastal swing, but hope Santana can match the effort his showed on Monday against the Padres, when he struck out 11 and allowed five hits in eight scoreless innings of a 2-0 win in Atlanta.

He's won three straight starts while posting a 1.69 earned run average, and, in his last two, had allowed a single run on 11 hits in 15 2/3 innings, with 21 strikeouts.

In three career starts against San Diego, he's allowed a .197 batting average while winning two decisions and pitching to a 1.35 ERA.

Since winning three of four against the Padres at home, however, the Braves have gone on to lose three straight in Los Angeles against the Dodgers as well as the Friday night opener in San Diego. The loss to the Padres was their fifth in a row at Petco Park.

The pitching staff has been ravaged to the tune of a .354 batting average in the four road losses this week, which translates to a 6.27 ERA. The bullpen ERA is 14.14 in seven innings and batters have teed off to a .537 average.

San Diego's Ian Kennedy returns after missing a start thanks to soreness in his left side.

He'd won three decisions over five straight starts without a loss, which yielded a 2.53 ERA.

In his last five outings at home, he's received an average of 5.14 runs per game, after going 0-5 in his first six starts with average support of just 2.21 runs.

He's 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts against the Braves.

San Diego is 10-4 at home since June 29, the second-best home record in the league in that stretch. The Padres hit just .212 at home through the end of June, but have boosted the number 70 points in July and early August. The win in Friday's opener featured 20 hits, their best since 2012.

On Friday, Tommy Medica went 5-for-5 with a pair of two-run home runs and four runs scored as the Padres thumped the Braves, 10-1. Everth Cabrera went 4- for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI while Chris Nelson added three hits and a run scored for the Padres.

Eric Stults (4-13) pitched 6 1/3 innings and gave up just one unearned run on two hits and four walks while striking out three.

Chris Johnson drove in the lone run of the game for the Braves.

Mike Minor (4-7) allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings of work to take the loss.

Though they lost three of four to the Braves last weekend, the Padres did sweep the club in three games at home a season ago.

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