Late-blooming Lane impresses in 1st pitching start
Jul. 28, 2014
ATLANTA (AP) — At an age when most players are thinking retirement, Jason Lane is trying to get started on a new career.
He might be on to something.
The 37-year-old former outfielder threw six scoreless innings in his first big league start as a pitcher before surrendering a homer to Evan Gattis that carried the Atlanta Braves to a 2-0 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday.
"The Padres gave me this opportunity," said Lane, who allowed six hits, struck out two and didn't walk anyone before he was lifted with no outs in the seventh. "Beyond that, I'm not sure what the situation will be. But I'll be ready to go."
Ervin Santana (10-6) pitched five-hit ball over eight innings, matching his career high with 11 strikeouts. Relying heavily on his slider, the right-hander allowed only runner past first base.
"He has that in him," Padres manager Bud Black said. "When he gets momentum, he's pretty good.
Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his 32nd save, giving the Braves their third straight win.
Gattis led off the seventh with his first homer since June 18, before he went on the disabled list for nearly three weeks with a bulging disk in his back. He also drove in Atlanta's other run with a two-out single off Dale Thayer in the eighth.
Lane (0-1) kept the Braves off-balance with a variety of fastballs in the mid-80s. But when he hung an 0-1 slider, Gattis drove it into the left-field seats for his 17th homer of the season.
"It's a little frustrating to make a mistake like that," Lane said. "There's not a lot of room for error. And it cost me."
A journeyman outfielder with Houston and the Padres from 2002-07, Lane homered in the 2005 World Series for the Astros. He became a full-time pitcher before the 2012 season.
Lane threw 4 1-3 scoreless innings for San Diego in two June relief appearances, and was recalled from Triple-A to start in place of ailing Ian Kennedy.
"To get back to the big leagues as a pitcher, that's pretty cool stuff," Atlanta third baseman Chris Johnson said.
Padres: OF Carlos Quentin went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left knee. INF Jedd Gyorko was activated from the DL after six rehab games at Triple-A El Paso. He had been out since June 4 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Kennedy missed his scheduled start because of a left oblique strain.
Braves: RF Jason Heyward left the game after the third inning with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Ryan Doumit and listed as day to day.
Padres: Tyson Ross (9-10) pitches for San Diego on Tuesday when they open a three-game series at home against Lance Lynn (11-7) and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Braves: Atlanta heads to Los Angeles to begin an eight-game road trip that also includes stops in San Diego and Seattle. Aaron Harang (9-6) faces Josh Beckett (6-5) of the Dodgers on Tuesday.
LATE BLOOMER: Lane (37 years, 219 days) became the oldest San Diego starting pitcher to make his big league debut. The mark was previously held by Walter Silva, who was 32 when he started against the Dodgers in 2009. The last pitcher to make his first start after his 37th birthday was St. Louis' Troy Percival in 2007. Normally a reliever, Percival pitched one inning at the start on the final day of the regular season.
GLOVE WORK: Braves SS Andrelton Simmons made a diving catch on a liner up the middle by Yangervis Solarte in the first, but the Gold Glover was just getting warmed up. In the fifth, Simmons moved to his left to field a grounder by Will Venable. The ball took a bad hop, Simmons instinctively stuck out his right hand to grab it barehanded. He threw out Venable by a step.
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