J-Up reaches 100-RBI plateau for first time

J-Up reaches 100-RBI plateau for first time

PHILADELPHIA -- Those who have simply taken notice of what Justin Upton has done in September would find it impossible to believe that he entered the month as a legitimate National League Most Valuable Player candidate. But when this season is complete, the Braves outfielder will have some numbers that indicate how productive he was most of this year.

Though it took at least a few weeks longer than he had hoped, Upton still had reason to be satisfied when he secured the first 100-RBI season of his career during Friday night's 5-4 loss to the Phillies. He reached the milestone with an opposite-field single in the first inning against Jerome Williams.

"This last month and a half has been rather sluggish," Upton said. "It's bittersweet, but it's one of those numbers you can't take away. So I'll enjoy it and take it for what it is worth."

When Upton exited August hitting .288 with 26 homers, 91 RBIs and a .880 OPS, it looked like he might better the numbers he produced in 2011, when he tallied his previous career-high RBI total (88) and finished fourth in the NL MVP balloting.

Upton's MVP candidacy has faded as he has batted .152 with two homers and a .487 OPS in September. But his season statistics will still look impressive.

"At the end of the year, you can say anything you want about anybody," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But 28 home runs and 100 RBIs is a pretty darn good season."

During the season's final two days, Justin will attempt to prevent topping the franchise-record strikeout total his older brother B.J. Upton set during Friday's second inning. B.J.' s 173 strikeouts best the record Dan Uggla set last year (171) and also stand three ahead of his younger brother's current total.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.