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Uggla homers twice as Braves take down Dodgers

Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) is congratulated by third baseman Ramiro Pena (14) after he hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla (26) is congratulated by third baseman Ramiro Pena (14) after he hits a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. (Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

LOS ANGELES -- For two innings, Los Angeles Dodgers starter Matt Magill sailed through the Atlanta lineup.

Magill issued two walks, but also had two strikeouts and allowed no hits.

And then the wheels came off for Magill.

The Braves -- and Dan Uggla in particular -- roughed up Magill in the third inning, and they defeated the Dodgers 8-1 on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.

With one out in the third inning, Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez botched a ground ball, giving the Braves two base runners. After a Freddie Freeman single loaded the bases, Evan Gattis scored Jason Heyward on a sacrifice fly and Uggla followed with a three-run home run on a cutter from Magill.

"You always want to feel like you matter, feel like you're a factor," Uggla said. "It sucks when, like I've felt a lot this year, you feel like a non-factor. Get some homers, some runs, it feels good."

Added Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez: "That's the stuff he can do right there, what you saw today. He can run the ball out of the ballpark and get you three quick runs in a hurry."

After Freeman cleared the bases with a three-run double in the fourth inning, Magill exited after allowing seven runs (three earned), four hits and six walks -- his second straight game with six free passes.

The Braves (39-24) did not relent, however, as Uggla homered for the second time to open the fifth inning.

Uggla finished 2-for-2 with two home runs, his 12th and 13th of the year, and four RBIs, and Freeman went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Heyward added two hits for his fifth multi-hit game in his last seven.

"(Heyward) is coming back," Gonzalez said. "When he came back off the appendicitis, he only had 50 at-bats coming in. He's getting going again. We need him up at the top of the order."

Magill got the start with Ted Lilly heading to the disabled list.

"It's an emergency start for the kid; he flies in yesterday, that type of thing," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Not the greatest situation for him either. But it is an opportunity and you have to take advantage of that."

One Dodger rookie certainly taking advantage of his time in the majors is Yasiel Puig, who continued his terrific start. He capped off his first week with three more hits, giving him five multi-hit games in his first seven contests. Puig, who batted .517 in spring training before torching Double-A pitching in advance of his call-up, upped his batting average to .464 on the year.

No other Dodger had more than one hit as Atlanta starter Mike Minor maintained his recent mastery.

Minor, who has allowed just 12 runs in his last seven starts, including Sunday, gave up one run on six hits, with six strikeouts and three walks, as he lowered his season ERA to 2.44 in his eighth win.

The Dodgers (27-35) loaded the bases in the first inning with no outs, but managed just one run on an RBI single by Skip Schumaker that scored Nick Punto.

"I'm not letting anything bother me really," Minor said. "I knew I was a couple pitches from getting out of it. Or I could've been, or it could get really bad. But I knew if I made quality pitches, I could get out of it."

Added the Braves' Gonzalez: "I thought what Michael did was outstanding, especially after that first inning, when he had himself on the ropes. This is the stuff we were talking about earlier, the Michael Minor of this time last year would've given up a big number."

Minor himself admitted that the Minor of 2012 would've collapsed in a similar situation.

"It goes back to last year," Minor said. "I've been in these situations plenty of times, and talk to Roger (McDowell, the Braves pitching coach), getting to know the game, you know you can get out of it. It really doesn't surprise me. If I'm in that situation, I'm not as vulnerable as I was last year.

NOTES: Magill was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace Lilly, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive to June 5) with a sprained neck. ... Fredi Gonzalez said he pulled third baseman Ramiro Pena in the sixth inning because Pena hurt his shoulder diving for balls twice, and he's considered day-to-day. ... Los Angeles shortstop Hanley Ramirez missed his fourth consecutive game and had an MRI on his ailing hamstring on Sunday. ... Mattingly said that starter Chris Capuano (triceps) could be ready to start as soon as Friday. ... Los Angeles outfielder Matt Kemp had a snag in his rehab and his hopeful Friday return is now doubtful. ... The Braves are now 35-8 in games in which they have homered this year. ... Freeman has been on a tear for Atlanta, with 12 multi-hit games in his last 24.


Comments

kevin 1 year, 3 months ago

So is Ugla at .200 batting average? All he does is swing for the fences or strike out. It is stil the rookies and young players doing all the critical hitting. Still waiting for Ugla, Heyward, and BJ to hit .200 We have really overpaid these 3 players, stopping the team from going adding better offensive players.

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