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Jair Jurrjens Masterful as Atlanta Braves Power Past San Diego Padres

June 26th, 2011 at 9:59 AM
By Cody Fields

Jair Jurrjens secured his National League leading 10th win, and Dan Uggla had what may have been his best game of the season, as the Atlanta Braves drubbed the San Diego Padres. Jurrjens once again walked a tightrope and got out of some hazardous jams, and Uggla gave Braves fans glimpses of his past in Florida that they hope can return.

The lone rune Jurrjens gave up in his six innings was on a lead-off home run to Alberto Gonzalez in the fourth inning, just the fifth Jurrjens has given up all year.

That says nothing, however, of the three separate jams with two on and no outs that Jurrjens got out of.

Jurrjens helped get himself in jams in the second, fifth and sixth innings by way of an uncharacteristic four walks, but bailed himself out when he made the Padres swing the bats.

"I've just not had my control like I want to," Jurrjens said. "I just need to go back and go to basics, throw strikes and try to pitch to contact."

The offense, on the other hand, provided more than enough firepower in support of their pitcher, capping it off with a three-run eighth and a four-run ninth. Uggla provided the punctuation to his own night in the ninth with a three-run homer, which followed his RBI single in the eighth and two walks earlier.

"I went deep in some counts," Uggla said. "I don't even know if that last pitch that I hit out was a strike. And to be on time with a fastball and be able to get on top of it like that – that's a great sign."

Even though Uggla entered the game with a major league worst .175 batting average, his performance Saturday may be a sign of things to come.

"It's coming," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's hit in maybe seven out of the last eight games… Little by little."

Atlanta provided offense little by little early on to give Jurrjens breathing room. After a Jason Heyward double, Chipper Jones drove him in on a single in the first inning. Nate McLouth then brought in Uggla on a double in the second. Freddie Freeman also drove in Heyward in the sixth inning.

That was it until the eighth, when Uggla drove in Brian McCann and moved Freeman to third. He was followed by a suicide squeeze by Alex Gonzalez and an RBI ground-rule double by Nate McLouth.

The ninth inning then saw Jordan Schafer lead off with a triple, and he was driven in by Jones on his 20th double of the season. A walk drawn by McCann set up Uggla's three-run shot, which gave the Braves a 10-1 lead and their 12th hit of the game.

"I know we haven't done it consistently, but we're capable of those kinds of numbers," Fredi Gonzalez said.

The win made Jurrjens the first to 10 in the majors this year and came in his 14th start, the fastest a Brave has done so since Tom Glavine in 2002. Jurrjens also leads the NL with a 2.07 ERA.

"He's been doing that the whole first half," Jones said. "He's got 10 wins on a team with no run support. That's pretty impressive."

The Philadelphia Phillies' loss to the Oakland A's puts the Braves four games back in the division race.

The rubber game of the series starts at 4:05 Sunday. Atlanta plans to throw Tim Hudson (6-6, 3.73 ERA), and Cory Luebke (1-2, 3.23 ERA) will take the hill for San Diego.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla, Jair Jurrjens, Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth, San Diego Padres

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