Uggla, Braves extend hot streak, win fifth straight

Uggla, Braves extend hot streak, win fifth straight

Uggla, Braves extend hot streak, win fifth straight
ATLANTA -- Dan Uggla declared that he was "back" three weeks ago in New York. His three-month long slump was over.

Since that declaration, Uggla has done his best to back it up. He continued his turnaround Thursday night at Turner Field, going 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. With Uggla leading the way, the Braves beat the Marlins, 6-2, for their fifth straight victory and 10th in their last 12 games since being swept in Milwaukee two weeks ago.

The Braves' latest win kept the pressure on the Nationals, who are attempting to close out the National League East and force Atlanta to play in the NL Wild Card game. The Nats also won Thursday, lowering their magic number to clinch the division to three.

While overcoming a four-game deficit in the division with six games to play is a longshot, the Braves can take solace in how well they are playing heading into the playoffs. Part of their current streak has been Uggla's resurgence. Including the game Sept. 7 against the Mets that led him to make the declaration, Uggla is hitting .290 with a .468 slugging percentage in the past three weeks. The Braves are 13-5 since that night.

Uggla said he was happy to be able to carry the offensive workload Thursday.

"Like I said three weeks, a month ago, I'm back," Uggla said. "I'm not searching for it. This is me and I'm going to keep doing what I can do from here on out."

Chipper Jones said Uggla has started getting some breaks that had been going against him during his summer slump.

"[He's] starting to swing the bat a little better," Jones said. "Balls are starting to fall for him. I think he broke three bats tonight, but got two of them to fall in to score runs. "

Uggla's fourth-inning RBI double gave the Braves their first run of the game and helped start a four-run rally against rookie right-hander Jacob Turner. Uggla's was the second of four straight hits the Braves rapped off Turner, which tied the game at 2 with one out in the fourth.

Turner then struck out Tommy Hanson, and after walking Jose Constanza, appeared to get out of the inning when Martin Prado hit a line drive to left field. Bryan Petersen ran over and had the ball in his glove, only to drop it. The error allowed the two go-ahead runs to score.

Petersen said he should have caught Prado's liner.

"It's frustrating," he said. "That's a job I need to do. When you don't do it well, it's frustrating."

After taking the lead, the Braves made sure they wouldn't relinquish it. Hanson retired the Marlins in order in the fifth inning, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

"That's a huge inning to put up a stop sign there," Hanson said. "I just wanted to be aggressive and throw strikes and I had a quick inning."

Before his night ended after allowing a one-out single to Donovan Solano in the sixth inning, Hanson had retired six batters in a row. He allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 1/3 innings and struck out four.

Hanson called his performance "middle of the road" and said he would have liked to have pitched deeper into the game. Thursday's start marked his seventh straight in which he threw less than six innings.

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was happy Hanson was able to keep the game close despite some early struggles. Hanson allowed one run in the third and fourth innings, but limited the damage both times and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second to keep Atlanta within striking distance.

"He kind of scattered the ball around a bit command-wise," Gonzalez said. "But he made some pitches when he had to, and he only gave up two runs. He did OK."

Three Braves relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings to close out the victory. In their sweep of the Marlins, Atlanta's bullpen threw eight scoreless frames.

With just a week left in the regular season, Uggla and the Braves are happy with the way they're playing. Now they just want to keep their hot streak going as long as possible.

"We're playing good baseball right now, doing what we need to do," Uggla said. "We've got six games left, so we've just got to keep taking care of business and keep going the direction we're going."

Teddy Cahill is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.