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Braves' steady Johnson easy to overlook

Chris Johnson is easy to overlook on a Braves roster that focuses on the long-ball.

The third baseman, who mainly bats eighth in the order, has been one of the team's most consistent hitters all season.

He showed his ability to deliver the big hit again Tuesday against the Marlins. Johnson went 3-for-4 with two doubles. It was his two-out hit in the sixth inning with the bases loaded that broke the game open and paved the way for an 11-3 Atlanta win.

Johnson's big hit came against Miami right-hander Ryan Webb, who nearly got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out the first two batters he faced. He got a strike past Johnson, but he swatted the next pitch past first baseman Logan Morrison into right field.

"That was huge," Braves pitcher Kris Medlen said. "I hate giving up a two-out hit to a right-handed batter, but when it happens for you it's a lot better feeling."

Johnson, who was acquired by the Braves in the offseason in the trade that brought Justin Upton to Atlanta and sent Martin Prado and Randall Delgado to Arizona, went 2-for-4 with an RBI in a 6-3 loss to Miami on Wednesday. Johnson has quietly hit .333 through the first 84 games.

"I haven't been getting guys in when it's been my turn," Johnson said. "I try to pick up guys in front of me. That's what good teams do. Webb's got good stuff and against righty's he's tough. I was just trying to get something over the plate."

On a night when Atlanta had 16 hits, including five doubles, none was bigger than the one delivered by Johnson on Tuesday.

"We split the gap a few times," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "The biggest double was Chris Johnson. I thought Webb was going to get out of the inning. Chris had a good at-bat and stuck the ball right down the first base line. That not only got us two runs, it gave us the opportunity to put up more."

Notes: LF Justin Upton followed Tuesday's three-hit effort by going 0-for-4 on Wednesday. Upton is now 11-for-35 (.314) over his last nine games. ... RHP Julio Teheran (6-4, 3.12) will be making his first career appearance against the Marlins. The rookie is coming off a six-inning scoreless appearance against Arizona which saw him strike out 10. Over his last 10 starts, Teheran has allowed more than three runs only once and three times has pitched at least six shutout innings. ... RHP Cristhian Martinez (shoulder discomfort) returned to Atlanta to be examined by team doctors. Martinez has been on the DL since April 7. He made two one-inning stints for Double-A Mississippi, allowing a total of two runs, two hits, two walks and two strikeouts.... CF B.J. Upton was back in the lineup after leaving Tuesday's game with forearm spasms. Upton said after the game that was OK and he was hitting seventh in the order. Upton was 1-for-4 on an infield hit and scored a run upon his return. ... 1B Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the sixth inning. Freeman went 2-for-4 on Wednesday and is now 8-for-19 (.421) on the homestand. Freeman improved his average to .313. ... C Brian McCann hit his 10th home run Tuesday and has now hit double-digit homers for eight straight seasons. He has hit safely in four straight and is 8-for-20 (.400) on the homestand and is now hitting .262.

Comments

kevin 9 months, 2 weeks ago

The little guy does it again. Time to trade all those making over $800,000 a yr. They are useless. Start with BJ Upton and Heyward.

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