Let it be known – Dan Uggla has snapped out of his two-month long slump. The Atlanta Braves second baseman belted a three-run homer to back another solid start by Paul Maholm in the Braves' 6-1 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday at Turner Field.
Uggla belted a two-out, three-run homer off Edison Volquez took all of four second to clear the left field wall to give the Braves a permanent lead for their 16th win in 21 games.
"Danny is heating up," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That ball he hit today was gone in a heartbeat. He hit that ball hard."
Uggla's homer was enough support for Paul Maholm, who made his third consecutive impressive start for the Braves since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs. Though Maholm didn't throw a three-hit shutout like he did on Friday, he still held the Padres to one run over seven innings. The only Padres run came on a solo homer by Logan Forsythe in the third inning to give them a 1-0 lead.
"He's really figured out how to pitch, he's really figured out what type of pitcher he is," Uggla said. "Not just this year, every year he's been in the league he's been getting better and better. He's a bulldog out there. He's going to challenge you and get you off balance."
The bottom of the inning saw the Braves take the lead back and keep it. After Martin Prado hit a one-out single, Jason Heyward moved him to third with a double. Freddie Freeman hit a comebacker to Volquez, resulting in Prado getting thrown out during a rundown. Uggla atoned for that when he worked a full count and blasted his three-run homer.
"I guess it felt a little up, but that's what happens when you're on time," Uggla said. "When I'm on time, my bat's as quick as anybody's. I was able to get on top of one, finally. Man, it felt good."
In his last eight games, Uggla has three home runs and nine RBIs. That is in stark contrast to the .121 average and .477 OPS he compiled between June 6 and August 5.
Atlanta put together another three-run inning in the fourth when Michael Bourn grounded out to drive in a run, though it was highlighted by Heyward's two-run double.
Heyward has hit .298 with 13 home runs since June 5.
The six runs allowed Maholm to pitch with a lead most of the game. He threw only seven pitches in the first inning and stranded Carlos Quintin after his lead-off double in the second.
The fourth inning proved a little more challenging for Maholm when he plunked Quintin in the foot and gave up a one-out single to Cameron Maybin. After walking Everth Cabrera to load the bases, however, Maholm struck Nick Hundley and Volquez to end the threat.
"You've just got to know that you can continue to execute your pitches and do your job," Maholm said.
Another win by the red hot Washington Nationals kept the Braves 4.5 games back in the NL East.
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