Uggla’s 3-run homer, Prado’s 4 hits help Braves beat Marlins

MIAMI – Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer in a four-run first inning against his old team, but for a while it looked like the Braves’ Monday blues were back when they frittered away most of a six-run lead at Marlins Park.

They have found all sorts of unusual ways to win recently and did again, building a 6-0 lead after 3-1/2 innings, then seeing Tim Hudson give most of it back before the Braves finished off a 7-5 series-opening win against Miami that moved them a half-game closer to NL East leader Washington.

Martin Prado went 4-for-4 with two RBIs for the Braves, who pushed their winning streak to four and got to five games behind the Nationals, who were off Monday after getting swept by the Braves in a three-game series that ended Sunday night in Atlanta.

“We got a six-run lead and kind of let them back in the game,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Nevertheless, we won the ballgame. The bullpen did a terrific job. Prado had a great night offensively. Danny had the three-run homer, but to me Danny saved us defensively.”

The Nationals have lost five of nine and start a series against the Dodgers on Tuesday. The Braves have won 11 of 15 and opened a 7-1/2-game lead on second-place St. Louis in the wild-card standings, with the Dodgers a game behind the Cardinals.

There are only 14 games left on the Braves’ schedule, but they believe they still have a chance to catch the Nationals.

“We definitely want to win the division, because that one-game playoff is such a gamble,” Uggla said of the single-game playoff between the wild-card teams to determine which advances to a  division series. “It’s one game deciding who’s going to go [to the division series]. It’s kind of scary. We’d rather automatically be in the  NLDS and not have to worry about that one-game playoff.”

The win was just the fourth in 20 Monday games for the Braves and second in 11 road Mondays.

Craig Kimbrel struck out one in the ninth inning and collected his 37th save.

Hudson (15-6) lasted five innings and gave away most of a six-run lead in a four-run fourth, the latest in a string of big innings against the veteran. He was charged with 10 hits and four runs, and threw 81 pitches without recording a walk or strikeout.

“That’s kind of been the story most of the year for me,” Hudson said. “We get a big lead [tonight] and I’m not really trying to go to the corners with a big lead like that. You’ve got to tip your cap to those guys over there; they hit some pretty decent pitches.”

It was the fifth time in his past eight starts that he allowed at least four earned runs, including three times in five or fewer innings. He has a 4.56 ERA in that period.

Uggla capped a four-run first inning with a two-out homer that sailed over the Marlins bullpen beyond left field and landed in the bleachers seats above it.

He also hit two homers in a four-hit, five-RBI game here against Miami on June 6, the day before his epic slump started.

Uggla was benched three games Sept. 2-4 and told by manager Fredi Gonzalez that Gonzalez didn’t know how much playing time the second baseman would get in September. The Braves were going to play the matchups and use whatever lineup Gonzalez believed would give them the best chance to win any given day, with Prado playing plenty of second base.

But Gonzalez was encouraged by some of Uggla’s at-bats Sept. 5-6, and he got another start Sept. 7 and had a double and a homer in a 3-0 win at New York.  He went 3-for-3 the next day and has stahyed in the lineup ever since.

The day after his two-homer game June 6 at Miami, Uggla began a 77-game stretch in which he hit .151 with seven homers and 90 strikeouts in 251 at-bats. But in 10 games since he’s 12-for-34 (.353) with three doubles, two homers and seven RBIs.

“He seems to be comfortable hitting down here,” Hudson said. “He’s really hurt his former team with the home run here. It’s great to see it. He’s a guy that we’re going to need to lean on some going into this last couple of weeks and in the playoffs. If we can get him hot, it’s going to very much help our offense.”

In addition to his homer Monday, Uggla beat out an infield single in the eighth inning and made a diving defensive stop.

“No matter what the batting average is, no matter how he’s doing, that’s the only way he plays,” Gonzalez said. “And that’s why you love him and stick with him. Because that’s the way he plays the game every single night. He brings it.  He brings the intensity. He can separate the offense from the defense, and that’s why you stick with a guy like that as much as you can.”

Asked whether he was more proud of, the homer or the diving stop, Uggla didn’t hesitate: “Homer. You kidding me? Come on, now. Those have been few and far between this year, and it got us off to a good start and gave Huddy a little cushion. Yeah, definitely the homer.”

Hudson cruised until the fourth inning, when he allowed a run on three singles within the first four batters. Then he surrendered consecutive two-out triples by Bryan Petersen, who came in batting .241 with a .267 slugging percentage, and Gorkys Hernandez, a light-hitting former Braves prospect batting .157 with a .245 slugging percentage before Monday.

Petersen was 5-for-53 with one extra-base hit in his career against Atlanta before tripling to right to bring in the second and third runs of the inning. Hernandez had four extra-base in 103 at-bats all season before doubling in the third inning and then lining a ball far over the head of center fielder Michael Bourn in the fourth, driving in Petersen to cut the lead to 6-4.

They were two unlikely characters in an improbable turn of events against Hudson, who before Monday had a career record of 152-6 when his team scored four or more runs while he was in the game, and a 134-3 record in starts when provided with a lead of at least three runs. He raised those marks, but not without some uneasy moments.

“Four runs in the first is a pitcher’s dream,” Hudson said. “I just hate that I gave a big chunk to them right there in that fourth inning.”

The Marlins added another run in the seventh off reliever Cory Gearrin before the Braves pushed the lead back to two on Prado’s RBI single in the eighth.

Prado’s four-hit game matched his career high (done six times) and gave him an NL-leading 55 multi-hit games this season.

60 comments Add your comment

Brandon

September 17th, 2012
10:08 pm

Nice game for uggla and prado! Go Braves!

Dave

September 17th, 2012
10:11 pm

Braves win four in a row…….UGA 3-0 and Falcons look great so far!!!!! Is ATL ready for some sport-to-sport excitement?!!! Bout damn time all our teams (sorry if you’re not UGA fan) playing at high level!!!! BTW atta boy uggla how huge would it be if he got hot? Also Huddy while i love him should not start a one game playoff

Tom

September 17th, 2012
10:23 pm

Its monday and the braves have won, the hell you say?

Tom

September 17th, 2012
10:23 pm

Its monday and the braves have won, the hell you say?

farmer

September 17th, 2012
10:23 pm

good win but the fact that Hudson has given up some big innings here as of late bothers me.. he is supposed to be the veteran no. 1 guy. he can’t be going like that if the team is going to go deep in the playoffs he has got to get it together quickly nice game Prado and Uggla.

ChipperisGod

September 17th, 2012
10:28 pm

Uggy and Prado were huge tonight. However, Huddy does not look good. It’s the first time I’m seriously worried about him this year. He’s had a few rough starts, but recently he’s been getting shelled more than he usually does. He was so sharp in that start against the Giants and needs to find a way to regain that form.

Offense was good tonight, gotta get more consistent pitching though. It can’t just be Minor and Medlen, we need at least one other guy to step up to have a solid three man rotation for the postseason if we (and we should) make it. Hudson has it in him, he’s just gotta straighten out with his mechanics and not throw pitches down the middle of the plate when he gets ahead 0-2.

I hope Maholm bounces back, he REALLY needs to get it going.

Go Braves!

Ken Stallings

September 17th, 2012
10:28 pm

Uggla had the key RBI hits in the last two games. His 2-RBI single put the Nats away in the series sweep on Sunday night, and his 4-run homer tonight gave the Braves series breathing room. This is precisely why Fredi Gonzalez showed all that patience with Uggla and to be honest, it is starting to payoff for the Braves as Uggla is showing consistent production at the plate. He also made an excellent fielding play at second base to record an out that likely prevented another Marlins run.

Huddy has had two games in the last five starts where he was given a sizeable early lead and then by the fifth inning had pitched poorly enough to cough most or all of it up. This time he barely hung on to earn the win.

Magic number is now down to 7 for the Dodgers to make post-season and is now 8 for the Cards to get the home field Wild Card with 14 games left to play. But, frankly, the Braves should be focusing now on the division as motivation — they are in striking distance at only 5 games back.

bravesgrl4life

September 17th, 2012
10:29 pm

Only non-producer: Bourn. Good thing he plays decent D.

Dum-Bass

September 17th, 2012
10:29 pm

It would be a no-brainer for Medlen not to pitch the one game wildcard game. Since it’s on Fri., the 5th, and the NLDS starts on Sunday, the 7th, he could pitch again, after 4 days rest, on Wed. Two games would have been played but with the first two games in ATL, that 3rd game in the other team’s park is HUGE! The Braves could split the first two in ATL, take the third one with Meds and be in good shape only needing to split the last two away. You see I have it scripted. Now if they will just follow it.

Joe White

September 17th, 2012
10:34 pm

Martin Prado should take Tim Hudson’s spot in the rotation

HAL

September 17th, 2012
10:37 pm

by the way bourn losers defence wasnt all that good anything hit to right or center is little league ball run tell the coach grabs ya or your back in the dugout pathetic!!!

Quack Quack

September 17th, 2012
10:43 pm

WOW!! What a game. Prado is an All Star. Mr. “I’m back” I hope he keeps it up. Tim tried his best to turn this into a typical Monday. What’s up with that?

Lets keep rolling……

GO BRAVES!!!

Quack Quack

September 17th, 2012
10:44 pm

@HAL…..WHAT??

Kentavo

September 17th, 2012
10:49 pm

What’s Jair up to these days?

Frank Shab in PA

September 17th, 2012
10:55 pm

Nice win. Hopefully the Braves keep it up. Last year on this date the b raves had the identical as today. 22 games over .500. They finished up by losing the last 5 games. Hopefully freddi keeps the troops fresh and from here it looks like Hudson may have hit a wall. he’s been struggling. Hopefully Maholm steps up. I thought he would be good when he got here, he was but then he’s pitched lousy. Guess the pennant race has got to him. He stunk up the joint in Milwaukee.
How bout the Nats schedule. 15 games 6 with Philly, 3 each with the Cardinals, Dodgers and Brewers. All Wild Card wanna be’s.
The Braves win the next 2 or 3 and the Dodgers beat the Nats the same,the Nats start to sweat. This is their first pennant race.
YOU NEVER KNOW.

Kentavo

September 17th, 2012
10:59 pm

Nats sure looked like a team feeling the heat this weekend – they basically gift-wrapped those games for the ol’ Bravos – especially the first two.

Mikey

September 17th, 2012
11:06 pm

Prado may be the answer to this teams problems with RISP and LH pitching in the number 4 slot.

bfred

September 17th, 2012
11:12 pm

Bourn bashing? How about last night, first to third on an infield error then scoring on a hard grounder to a drawn-in first baseman, sliding headfirst around the tag? Margin of victory right there.

bfred

September 17th, 2012
11:14 pm

Oh, and how about Yunel in hot water with the league for printing “You are a fa–ot” on his eyeblack?? What the h#ll??

trbaves

September 17th, 2012
11:19 pm

Just got back from the game!

1- Uggla swing seems to be back – most of his AB’s were really battled and you he pulled some bullets for Fouls down 3B

2-Prado – wow – the AB with Heyward on 3rd and 1 out was amazing…

3-Simmons has a cannon – could have tried to go after some hits back the middle – overall nice

4-Ross drilled a ball to LF in his 1st AB that wdve been gone anywhere else

5-Huddy not so great – seemed to have great command for first 3 innings and then gone – close to the game in Philly

6-Came away very impressed by AVILAN!! Kid throws hard

7-KIMBREL makes the 9th inning fun

trbaves

September 17th, 2012
11:20 pm

Forgot this – GREAT D
They made the basic plays and then Uggla saving that run in the 8th was huge!

HINSKE had the worst AB of the whole game

Dum-Bass

September 17th, 2012
11:21 pm

He didn’t print that. He printed “ur gay” but in Spanish. Not good, but still a big difference. He’s about a “nutcase” anyway, so what did they expect? If someone had not been overly-sensitive nobody would probably have even known about it. The PC crowd at work again!

trbaves

September 17th, 2012
11:32 pm

DOB – Going to the game tomorrow again – that place is so empty it kinda gets boring after a while
How about a Tour of the Press area? I’ll buy u a beer

The Brave Californian

September 17th, 2012
11:36 pm

There’s just one word for Hudson now – unreliable. He’s no better than our number 4 starter at this point in the season; he scares me almost as much as Hanson.

NorCal Brave

September 17th, 2012
11:56 pm

About time the offense carried the load in getting a win. Huddy and the rest have had some great pitching efforts wasted repeatedly.

GOP Cannon

September 18th, 2012
12:53 am

The Braves are playing great baseball at the best possible time! Keep the momentum going into October!

reckingball

September 18th, 2012
1:07 am

bravesgrl4life..@10:29pm….”Only non-producer:Bourn”
Were you watching the same game that I was watching?
Btw, he was robbed of an infield hit, by the infamous CB Bucknor.

jer

September 18th, 2012
1:25 am

I’ve not been a Fredi fan. However, if someone told you before the season began:
(1) the team’s most experienced pitcher and a proven high percentage winner would be out the first month of the season;
(2) the pitcher leading the league in ERA near the half-way point last year and an All-Star would be have an ERA near 7.00 and would be all but useless to the team;
(3) the other pitcher near the lead league in ERA at the half way point last year would fall apart once again in the second half;
(4) the pitcher leading the league this year in ERA by June would be lost for a year;
(5) the can’t miss phenom rookie pitcher would be horrendous in Triple AAA – never mind how bad he was in the majors;
(6) the third year pitcher who had the highest ERA after 10 games would start to look like a cagey, highly capable veteran in the second half because he was given patience and supported;
(7) the bullpen would not be worn out like last year because the manager had learned from previous mistakes;
(8) the number two pitching prospect would only be 4-9.

Would you then be willing to admit that he might have done at least a decent job with his team when they were about to clinch the top wild card spot?

BOISESTATEBRONCO

September 18th, 2012
3:15 am

Time for the Braves to carry this momentum in a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!

Buzz 2011

September 18th, 2012
4:47 am

Uggla 216??? 216? Not worth $600,000 much less $60 million.

Buzz 2011

September 18th, 2012
4:48 am

@BOISESTATEBRONCO…This guy is really a Georgia Bulldog. Notice the way he talks..

longtimefan

September 18th, 2012
6:20 am

Where oh where are all the Uggla haters? It seems like the Braves are taking away all the target one by one. The naysayers look pretty foolish hating on Chipper, Heyward, Minor, FG, FW and now Uggla is pulling out of the target zone. Seems to me many of the naysayers on this blog aren’t really Braves fans; this just like to complain. Now they look ludicrous coming on here calling for FW or FG dead.

longtimefan

September 18th, 2012
6:22 am

Bad typing, sorry. FW or FG’s head. Too early in the morning.

debaser

September 18th, 2012
6:22 am

Anyone who doesn’t think Medlen should start the WC game is insane.

Growler

September 18th, 2012
6:26 am

Ken Stallings, Braves beat Cards 5 of 6 this year, so magic number for home field in the Wild Card game is also 7.

David O'Brien

September 18th, 2012
6:41 am

DOB – Going to the game tomorrow again – that place is so empty it kinda gets boring after a while
How about a Tour of the Press area? I’ll buy u a beer
— trbaves

Speaking of half-empty, they only passed 2 million for the season on Monday, a lot later than projected. The Marlins thought they’d draw about 2.7 million in their first season at the new ballpark.

Oh, and no, sorry, but a credential-less tour of the press area would be frowned upon by security.

Dade fan

September 18th, 2012
8:22 am

Uggla for September MVP!!

Von Trapp

September 18th, 2012
9:00 am

Das Uggla served das dirt biscuits vonce agains for das critics. Von Uggla to das rescue…………to das title Von Uggla………..to das title…………….To Vell with das playoff . Ve vant das title Von Uggla :)

Obama Supporter

September 18th, 2012
9:09 am

The stimulus is working!
Unemployment is down and housing starts are up!

Keep up the good work, Obama!

varoadrunner

September 18th, 2012
9:18 am

All I have to say today is…..WTG DANNY BOY!!! 3 run HR and spectatular defense. Good for you. I’m not sure it will coninue but let’s ope this is a sign of whato expect till the end.

bruce mac

September 18th, 2012
9:37 am

What is the world coming to? Tech runs up the score on credible conference opponent, UGA rated number 5, Braves go to playoffs and Falcons are leading division at 2 and 0. Lets just stop now, it can only go down from here.

CRM300

September 18th, 2012
9:54 am

Are there any more questions about which pitcher should start the wild card game? Hudson shows again that the Braves can’t rely on him to pitch the kind of game against a good team that will be required in that play in game. The Marlins are not a good team and Stanton was not in the line up. Fredi has to manipulate the starting rotation to give Medlen that start. Was it just me or did Kimbrel look a little uncomfortable last night? Braves really need to score some runs in the next couple of games and give him some rest. All they need is to lose Kimbrel!

Kris

September 18th, 2012
10:14 am

MUST PITCH MEDLEN IN THE ONE GAME PLAYOFF!!!

Kris

September 18th, 2012
10:15 am

Fredi, please don’t overthink or overmanage and have Hudson pitch one game playoff. Let Hudson pitch game 1 of the LDS if there is one.

Colleen

September 18th, 2012
10:24 am

Great Job Braves! Keep up the good work! Chipper wants another ring before he leaves!

Kris

September 18th, 2012
10:25 am

Ugglas’s been clutch this month. If he were half this good during the summer months, the Braves would be tied for the division lead.

Kris

September 18th, 2012
10:31 am

I think in 2007, Phils were 5 out of first at game #147 and overtook the Mets. The Mets had their own meltdown that year. Let’s hope that the Nats go down this year against the Dodgers, Phils, Brewers, Cardinals.

Bobby's Chauffeur

September 18th, 2012
11:16 am

Hanson one more start….. then to the bull pen

jack

September 18th, 2012
11:16 am

-Still want to give the Ball to the Veteran for ONLY WC Game? Give The KID the Ball-he is a
WINNER -

-Uglga made good play to his left to save run but Freddy F. somehow got up to a typically poor Uggla throw AND SOMEHOW KEPT HIS FOOT ON THE BASE-helps to be 6′5″ but Uggla will test you…..

coach k

September 18th, 2012
11:27 am

Most dangerous team in the playoffs, dominating pitching, good defense, and if we get some consistant hitting. World series bound!!!! go Braves let go get our swagger on boys, finish!!!!

timthebrave

September 18th, 2012
11:48 am

Prado continues to impress me. If Uggla, Bourn and Mccann get hot there is no ceiling to this team…Go Braves!

DaculaJones

September 18th, 2012
1:29 pm

As of today, the Braves play 14 games to Washington’s 16. The Braves have Thursday and next Monday off where as the Nat’s play every day for the rest of the season. This means a win or loss by the Nat’s on those 2 off days only equate to a 1/2 game swing per day. Let’s say the Nat’s split on each of those days. Then the Braves have to win 6 more times then the Nat’s over the other 14 games to pass the Nats. That would be something like a 12-2 finish for the Braves and a 6-8 finish for the Nats. (7-9 really with the off days split) With the remaining schedules for each team, there is still a chance for this or even a better 10-4 vs 4-10 finish to take place. Doubtful but historical if it were to happen.

Nerdville

September 18th, 2012
1:34 pm

need to sweep the fish. a division title should still be the target. and; after all this time, uggla is doing something, finally.

Casey

September 18th, 2012
2:06 pm

Get a grip people! Uggla still sucks! He still hasn’t gotten a game winning hit. Even with the few hits he’s gotten in the last couple of weeks, IT’S A 162 GAME SEASON!. He only hits for about 20 games. On top of that he is the worst 2nd baseman who ever played in the major leagues! He has to go!

Casey

September 18th, 2012
2:07 pm

And Fredi Gonzalez and Frank Wren have to go, too!

reckingball

September 18th, 2012
2:31 pm

Uggla has gotten a lot of game winning hits.
Read the box-scores for this season, play-by-play.

DaculaJones

September 18th, 2012
2:41 pm

Is there a tiebreaker for the Division or if there is a tie, it’s a 1 game playoff?

Tumbledown

September 18th, 2012
2:46 pm

Casey – On top of that he is the worst 2nd baseman who ever played in the major leagues!

That is quite a bold statement. I would have to disagree.

DaculaJones

September 18th, 2012
2:49 pm

And that Casey…..
He’s got to go too……..He’s a bad seed for the origanization.
All that negativity……Bad for the team…….Like a Cancer.

Fats Johnson

September 18th, 2012
2:56 pm

Obama Supporter

Romney will serve dirt biscuits to Mr.Change in November. Too many Americans love America to see it go into 3rd world country status. :)

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