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April 10, 2014

What You Need to Know

Ervin Arrives

by Daniel Rathman


The Wednesday Takeaway
Strike, strike, strike, strike… okay, fine, I’ll spare you the next 16. But that’s how Ervin Santana began his Braves career: with 20 consecutive strikes, and 28 of them in his first 29 pitches.

The right-hander was handed a 1-0 lead on a leadoff homer by Jason Heyward, and that was all he needed to keep the Braves on top through eight. He allowed only two singles and a Daniel Murphy double. Juan Lagares, who grounded out to begin the fifth, was the only Mets batter who worked a three-ball count.

Santana looked nothing like the erratic pitcher who took the mound for Triple-A Gwinnett in his lone minor-league tune-up. He needed 93 pitches just to complete 5 1/3 innings in that assignment, in which he issued four walks and uncorked a wild pitch. On Wednesday, Santana had pinpoint command of his fastball and relentlessly pounded the lower half of the zone:

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