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SD@ATL: Santana strikes out 11 over eight strong

Braves right-hander Ervin Santana had to be licking his chops for another go at the Padres after churning out his finest start of the season against San Diego on Monday. Or at least he was before the Padres erupted for 10 runs on 20 hits in Friday's series opener at Petco Park.

The Padres followed July's National League-leading run differential by beating the Braves by nine runs after Atlanta compiled just four hits on the evening.

So, Santana's start couldn't come at a better time, considering he tied a career high in strikeouts with 11 over eight scoreless innings against the Padres his last time out.

Santana has lasted at least seven innings in four of his past five starts and catcher Evan Gattis saw Santana's confidence spike in his last go against San Diego.

"It was just good rhythm," Gattis said. "There were a couple of times shaking [off signs] and sometimes just shaking to throw guys off, but it was unbelievable. His command and game plan and everything, I thought he did unbelievable."

The Braves should have their work cut out for them against Ian Kennedy, even with the Padres right-hander coming off a left oblique injury that cost him a start.

As of late, Kennedy just can't seem to lose. Even after issuing a season-high five walks in his most recent start against the Cubs, Kennedy still notched a victory.

Kennedy hasn't lost since June 25, and in six career starts against the Braves, he boasts a 2-0 record.

Of course, the norm for most pitchers hasn't held true for Kennedy this season. In Petco Park, his ERA is a exactly a run higher than it is on the road (4.18 to 3.18).

Padres: How about that ... offense?
Without a doubt, it's been a tough season for the Padres' offense, which has been shut out a Major League-leading 16 times this season.

That said, since the start of the second half on July 18, the Padres have scored a total of 71 runs in 14 games, which is the highest total in the NL.

Only the Blue Jays (82 runs), Indians (74) and White Sox (73) have scored more runs than the Padres since the All-Star break.

Braves: Bonifacio lands in lineup
When the Braves acquired Emilio Bonifacio, they knew his versatility would pay dividends. They just didn't realize how quickly.

One day after the team acquired him and left-hander James Russell in a Trade Deadline deal with the Cubs, Bonifacio was called upon to start in right field with Jason Heyward's back forcing him to miss another game.

Batting eighth in his debut, Bonifacio finished 0-for-2 with two walks. Although his 14 doubles and 14 stolen bases are promising in his part-time role with the Cubs, manager Fredi Gonzalez made it clear Bonifacio won't be a regular. And don't expect him to bump B.J. Upton out of the leadoff spot either.

"I want to keep my guy there [in the leadoff spot]," Gonzalez said. "I think he's had some success there in that spot. That's what we want to do. We want to put guys in positions where they've been successful. 'Boni' is not an everyday guy and I don't want to jerk B.J. around."

Worth noting
• Left-hander Robbie Erlin threw 2 1/3 scoreless innings for Double-A San Antonio on Friday as he works his back from elbow soreness. He allowed three hits, one walk and struck out one on 42 pitches.

• On Friday, the Braves designated outfielder Jordan Schafer for assignment and optioned left-hander Chasen Shreve to Triple-A to make room for Bonifacio and Russell on the active roster. Comments