ATLANTA -- Dan Uggla's strong recovery from a woeful first half has affirmed what Braves manager Fred Gonzalez thought all along:
"You've got to believe the back of the baseball card," Gonzalez said, referring to Uggla's record of consistent power.Uggla homered twice and drove in three runs, Brandon Beachy gave up only one run in six innings and Atlanta continued to feast on the top teams in the NL West by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1 on Saturday night.Uggla's two-run homer in the first gave Atlanta the lead. Uggla and Freddie Freeman hit back-to-back homers in the seventh.Uggla, whose 33-game hitting streak ended on Sunday, is one homer away from his fifth straight 30-homer season. With two hits against Arizona, Uggla is hitting .231 -- almost 60 points higher than his .173 mark before the hitting streak."After that rough start, I'm sure people were probably doubting I'd get to where I am now," Uggla said. "That's why you play the full season."Uggla maintained an upbeat demeanor despite hitting only .185 before the All-Star break, and he again avoided a letdown when the streak ended."I'm the same every day," he said. "The streak was fun. I was looking to start another one the next day."Uggla's fourth two-homer game of the season left him tied for second in the NL with 29.After winning three of four from San Francisco, the Braves have won the first two games of the weekend series against the first-place Diamondbacks.Arizona has lost four straight."We're just having a tough time now," said Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson. "We're unable to get anything going right now."Martin Prado had three hits, walked and drove in a run for Atlanta, which has won 12 of 16 and is eight games ahead of the Giants in the NL wild-card race.Beachy (6-2) gave up four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in winning his third straight decision."We're playing every game with a purpose, and that's to make the playoffs," Beachy said. "There's stuff on the line."Arizona left-hander Wade Miley (0-1) gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in four-plus innings in his major league debut."He actually came out and threw the ball good," Gibson said. "He was throwing strikes, made some mistakes. The big mistake was to Uggla. That's not where he wanted to locate that."Atlanta's Michael Bourn ended the sixth with a highlight-worthy catch against the center field wall.With two outs and Miguel Montero on first base following a walk from Beachy, Paul Goldschmidt hit a long flyball to center field. Bourn made the leaping catch before crashing into the wall and falling back onto the warning track.Jose Constanza ran over from right field to help Bourn return to his feet. Goldschmidt, uncertain if Bourn held onto the ball, kept running before stopping near third base and looking back at Bourn. Beachy stood applauding as he waited for Bourn to leave the field.The Braves acquired Bourn from Houston in a July 31 trade."What an unbelievable player and pickup he is," Uggla said. "Those kind of players don't just fall off trees. He's a special, special player."Arizona gave Miley an early lead when Justin Upton singled and scored on Montero's double in the first. Beachy then recorded 12 straight outs before giving up singles to Collin Cowgill and Miley in the fifth. Beachy struck out Willie Bloomquist to end the inning.Beachy's single in the second drove in Constanza. Prado's double off Ziegler drove in Bourn in the sixth.The Braves outhit the Diamondbacks 13-5.
Josh Collmenter, who gave up only two hits in six shutout innings in a 2-1 win over Atlanta on May 19 at Arizona, will start for the Diamondbacks in Sunday's final game of the series. Tim Hudson will try for his 13th win for Atlanta. ... OF Chris Young, hitting only .123 in August, was given a day off, but Gibson said "His swing is fine."... Beachy's single in the second gave the rookie his first RBI. ... Miley had his first major league hit in the fifth. ... Arizona has its longest losing streak since losing five straight from May 8-13. Both streaks came on road trips. ... There was a brief delay in the eighth when a fan ran onto the field and was tackled by security guards.