WASHINGTON – Dan Uggla singled in his third at-bat Tuesday to extend his hitting streak to 24 games, matching Gary Sheffield for the fourth longest in Atlanta Braves history.
“All that stuff is bittersweet because bottom line, we need a win,” said Uggla, after the Braves 9-3 loss to the Nationals, their third in a row. “You’re just finding a way to try to get on base.”
Uggla was a little more emphatic the night before when he went 3-for-4 with two home runs on Monday night to reach 23 games and match Edgar Renteria (2006) for the fifth-longest streak in Atlanta history.
Uggla hit as many home runs Monday night as Renteria did in his entire streak in 2006. Uggla hit 10 home runs over those 23 games, including one in his first at-bat Monday to eliminate all suspense early.
Uggla’s batting average was .173 when the streak started on July 5. He was hitting .212 after Tuesday’s game. So what happened? He says he just feels now like he usually feels – like himself.
“What’s going on – this is pretty much what I’ve done my whole career, without the streak obviously,” said Uggla, who’s admitted to feeling a little of the pressure of the five-year $62 million extension he signed. “It’s a struggle I had to go through I guess. Who knows? Just rolling with it.”
Since June 28, Uggla has raised his average 37 points from .175 to .212. He’s driven in 22 runs in his past 30 games, after driving in 27 in his first 80 games to that point.
His streak lasted through a pinch-hit at-bat in Cincinnati on July 22, when he hit the game-winning homer and a scoring change two nights later, when an error by third baseman Miguel Cairo was changed to a hit.
“If the scoring thing hadn’t changed, then that would have been par for the course all year,” Uggla said. “I hit that ball hard; it’s not a routine play. But earlier on in the year, they call it an error.”
At this point in the year, he’s having some fun. And he has Freddie Freeman to share the experience with. Freeman extended his own hitting streak to 17 games with a double on Tuesday night.
“He’s a lot better hitter than I am so his will probably go on a lot longer than mine,” Uggla said. “This young kid is good, man.”