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Dan Uggla, Tim Hudson Lead Atlanta Braves to 5-1 Victory Over Florida Marlins

July 31st, 2011 at 1:16 AM
By Jonathan McCullough

Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman continued their hot hitting, and Tim Hudson tossed a gem as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Florida Marlins 5-1 Saturday night.

When the Braves acquired Uggla in the offseason, it marked the end of a long search for a right-handed power bat to stick in the middle of the lineup. For the first three months of the season, however, Uggla did his best Mario Mendoza impression as his average dropped to .173 on July 4.

Uggla is quickly making Atlanta Braves fans forget about that abysmal first half. Uggla hit a three-run home run in the third inning off of starter Anibal Sanchez to extend his hitting streak to 21 games and give Hudson all the runs he would need. Since his hitting streak began on July 5, Uggla's average has steadily climbed as he now sits at a .206 average. While that's certainly not what he envisioned at the start of the season, it's indicative of how he has helped carry the Braves this month.

"Just staying positive," Uggla said of his recent hot streak. "This is what I’m used to doing, so it’s one of those things, you get a couple to fall and confidence kicks in a little bit, and you start to feel more comfortable. Then you’re you again.”

With Uggla providing most of the offense, Hudson held up his end of the deal on the rubber. He pitched seven strong innings with five strikeouts while only giving up one run.

"Outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Hudson's outing. "He gave us what we wanted. Seven innings. He was really, really good. He's been nails. He is one of those guys who competes. He competes his butt off every day. Every start, whether he is down or up, every pitch he competes."

In his last eight starts, Hudson is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA.

Freeman extended his hitting streak to 14 games as his batting average creeps closer to .300 (currently .297). Martin Prado recorded two hits, including an RBI single to put the Braves' first run on the board. Eric Hinske tacked on a solo shot in the eighth inning for his tenth homer of the season.

Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel each worked a scoreless inning to cap off the night, though Venters made things interesting by loading the bases before striking out Hanley Ramirez.

The Braves will look to finish off a sweep of the Marlins as Tommy Hanson (11-5, 3.13 ERA) will take the hill against Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 4.04 ERA) on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 EDT.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Craig Kimbrel, Dan Uggla, Eric Hinske, Freddie Freeman, Fredi Gonzalez, Jonny Venters, Martin Prado, MLB, Tim Hudson

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