The Atlanta Braves used a three-run home run by slugger Dan Uggla to defeat the Washington Nationals 6-4 and avoid being swept for the first time this season. The Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are the only teams in the National League who have not been swept in a series this season.
Despite getting roughed up in the sixth inning, starting pitcher Brandon Beachy picked up his fifth win on the season after pitching five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out four. Beachy was solid through his first five innings of work, giving up just four hits. In the sixth inning, however, the Nationals got on the scoreboard after an RBI-single from Michael Morse, two wild pitches by Beachy and a two-run home run by Jayson Werth.
Anthony Varvaro, Eric O-Flaherty and Jonny Venters combined to pitch three scoreless innings of relief, while Craig Kimbrel picked up his 32nd save of the season after a perfect ninth inning.
The offense for Atlanta started early as Michael Bourn led off the game witha single to right field and later scored on a Freddie Freeman groundout to second to put the Braves up 1-0 in the first inning. After Uggla reached on an infield single and Eric Hinske walked, Alex Gonzalez drove in Atlanta's second run of the game with an RBI single to put the Braves up 2-0.
Atlanta did the rest of its scoring in the fifth inning as Freeman drove Bourn in once again, this time with an RBI single. Uggla capped off the offensive onslaught with a three-run home run, his 23rd of the season.
With the first inning single Uggla extended his career-best hitting streak to 25 games in a row and finished Wednesday's game 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored. Freeman also extended his own hit streak to 18 games in a row after finishing 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and a run scored. In his third game as a Brave, Bourn was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and a stolen base, his 40th of the season, while Gonzalez was also 1-for-4 with an RBI.
“Dan’s been carrying us the last month it seems like. I’m just trying to hang along, just trying to keep up with Dan," said Freeman of the pairs impressive hit streaks. "We’ve been beating some balls out and we’re seeing some balls go through. We both extended our streaks on infield hits today. It’s just one of those things you try to do your best and when you smell a hit, you run faster.”
After the game, Freeman was named July's NL Rookie of the Month after leading all Major League rookies with 38 hits and .362 batting average in July. He also led all NL rookies with six home runs, 18 RBI and 17 runs scored.
The Braves have the day off on Thursday and will then start a three-game series with rival New York Mets on Friday. Friday's contest will see veteran ace Tim Hudson (10-7, 3.31 ERA) take the mound against R.A. Dickey (5-9, 3.77 ERA) of the New York Mets beginning at 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field in New York.
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