The Atlanta Braves extended their winning streak to four games while riding the suddenly productive bats of Dan Uggla, Jason Heyward and B.J. Upton. But it was Andrelton Simmons who ultimately came through with a walk-off double in the 10-inning, 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Turner Field on Tuesda
Uggla got the 10th started with a walk off Mark Melancon and moved into scoring position when Melancon plunked Reed Johnson. That led to Simmons cranking a double to the gap in right-center that allowed Uggla to trot home and for the Braves bench to mob Simmons, dousing him with dirt and water.
"It was a nice feeling," Simmons said on braves.com. "It was weird seeing everybody run and chase me down. It's kind of an awkward feeling. I didn't know what to do. I think [Jason Heyward] carried me a little bit. He showed me where I had to go. I was kind of lost."
It was the first time Simmons had hit a walk-off in his life, and it bumped his batting average during his career-best 10-game hitting streak to .356.
Mike Minor and Uggla put the Braves in a bit of a hole early on. Minor gave up solo homers to Gaby Sanchez in the second inning and Pedro Alvarez in the fourth for his only two runs. Uggla booted Clint Barmes' grounder to start the third, which resulted in two unearned runs scoring later on an Andrew McCutchen double.
Freddie Freeman drove in the only two runs the Braves directly scored off Pirates starter Jeff Locke, who made his first appearance against the team who traded him for Nate McLouth. Uggla chased Locke from the game with his second hit of the game with two outs in the sixth, setting up B.J. Upton to hit his sixth homer of the year off Ryan Reid to tie the game.
Upton is still hitting .154 for the year, but two homers since Sunday and a .250 average for his last four games is an enormous turnaround for the veteran who signed a five-year, $75 million contract over the offseason.
"I've always been confident," Upton said. "Going up to the plate, I felt like I was going to get a hit every time. Obviously, it wasn't happening. I'm just starting to see some results and that's a good thing."
Heyward also tallied two hits and scored on Freeman's double, showing signs of his turnaround.
The Braves had to rely on Craig Kimbrel, Anthony Varvaro, Luis Avilan and Jordan Walden to complete four scoreless innings after Minor exited after six inning, allowing Minor to avoid the loss and Varvaro to vulture a win.
"It was a good team win," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "There was a lot of good stuff, pitching-wise, and also offensively."
The Braves go for the series sweep Wednesday at 12:10.
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