Braves right-hander Ervin Santana was literally in the zone during his first start in an Atlanta uniform, setting a Major League record by firing 20 consecutive strikes to begin the game against the Mets on Wednesday.
"Playing behind him is like, 'Man, this is fun,'" Braves third baseman Chris Johnson said. "I don't know that I've ever been a part of something like that. That was pretty cool. Hopefully he can keep that up."
Santana will try to keep that up Monday in his second career start at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia after pitching there as a member of the Angels on June 20, 2008. He gave up only one run on two hits in seven innings to earn the win.
Santana, who signed a one-year deal with Atlanta worth $14.1 million on March 12, rode his fast start against New York on Wednesday to a victory, giving up only three hits in eight shutout innings. He was highly efficient, throwing 88 pitches, striking out six and walking none.
"He's fast, he throws a lot of strikes and he's nasty with those strikes," Johnson said. "He's special to watch with the way he goes throughout the game. He's quick, and it's really fun to be a part of."
Although Santana takes encouragement from his first outing, he is just happy to be with the Braves as a member of the starting rotation. By signing Santana, Atlanta sacrificed its first-round selection (26th overall) in this year's First-Year Player Draft.
"At this point, I thought I was not be going to be with any team yet because of the Draft pick and all that," Santana said. "It feels great to be a part of this team. It's a winning team with young talent, and it's great."
Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez made his second career start at Citizens Bank Park in his most recent outing, a 9-4 loss to the Brewers on April 9. He gave up four runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out nine.
Hernandez will face an Atlanta offense that plated 23 runs in a three-game sweep of the Nationals this past weekend. However, the Braves ranked third in the Majors with 1,384 strikeouts last season, and Hernandez could be in for a big day after nearly matching his career high of 10 in his most recent start.
Phillies: Burnett gets ultrasound Monday
A.J. Burnett should know Monday if he will make Wednesday's scheduled start against the Braves.
He will have an ultrasound in the morning to see if it is just a sore groin or possibly something worse.
"I feel good, but I want my mind to be 100 percent," he said about the ultrasound. "Let's just hope it's not a hernia or something. That's what I'm worried about. Tomorrow will give me peace of mind. But as far as physically, today was a good day today. A lot better."
Burnett left Friday's start against the Marlins in the fifth inning because of soreness in his right groin. He threw a bullpen session Sunday morning at Citizens Bank Park. He said it went better than expected, although he twice felt a pull in the muscle while throwing out of the stretch.
Braves: Minor, Floyd make rehab starts
• Mike Minor gave up one hit, walked one and struck out four in five scoreless innings in a rehab start for Class A Rome on Sunday. Gavin Floyd gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett.
• Since beginning the 2014 season in a 1-for-17 slump that saw him strike out 10 times, B.J. Upton is batting .267 (8-for-30) with only six strikeouts. He has hit safely in five of the past seven games.
• Upton is 3-for-12 with on RBI, three walks and four strikeouts in his career against Hernandez.
• Right-hander Mike Adams (right shoulder surgery) could be activated Monday. He made a rehab appearance Saturday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
• Phillies center fielder Tony Gwynn Jr. started three consecutive games over the weekend against the Marlins as Ben Revere nursed sore ribs. Revere was healthy enough to play Sunday, but manager Ryne Sandberg likes how Gwynn has played.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporter Todd Zolecki contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.