Friday, August 05, 2011

Preview : Game 111 - Braves at Mets - Uggla on Fire, Streak to 26 Games


Atlanta Braves (64-48) at New York Mets (55-55), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Tim Hudson (10-7, 3.31) New York - R.A. Dickey (5-9, 3.77)

Dan Uggla's first season in Atlanta didn't start so well.

Now the stocky second baseman has the fans on his side and will try to extend a career-high hitting streak to 26 games when he leads the Braves into Friday's opener of a three-game set against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

Uggla is riding the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and is just three shy of tying Marquis Grissom (1996) for the third-longest streak in franchise history. Grissom hit safely in 28 straight games. Uggla is batting .354 with 11 home runs and 23 RBI in the stretch and went 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored in Wednesday's 6-4 win at Washington.

Freddie Freeman extended his career-best hitting to 18 games with two hits and two RBI. He has reached base safely in 40 of his last 44 games for Atlanta, which salvaged the finale of the set with Washington and won for the fifth time in nine games. The Braves are still 8 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for the National League East lead.

The Braves, however, hold a 2 1/2-game edge on Arizona for the wild card lead and are 1-2 on a nine-game road trip.

"We have to start pulling away from the Western Division," Uggla said. "We've got to put, three, four, five wins together."



Brandon Beachy allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings for the win, while All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 32nd save with two K's in the ninth. Only Brian Wilson (33) of San Francisco has more saves than Kimbrel.

Tim Hudson draws the start for Atlanta tonight and is 10-7 with a 3.31 ERA in 22 appearances this season. He has won five of his last six decisions and defeated Florida the last time out in a 5-1 victory on Saturday. The righty allowed just one run on six hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and no walks.

Hudson was beaten by the Mets on June 15 this season in a 4-0 loss at Turner Field, where he allowed three runs -- two earned -- in four innings. The right-hander is 13-8 with a 3.66 ERA in 22 career starts against New York.

The Mets had an extra day of rest after their matchup with the Marlins on Wednesday was postponed due to rain. Florida won the first two contests of the series, including Tuesday's 4-3 setback, New York's fourth in a row since a five-game winning streak.

Jose Reyes homered and closer Jason Isringhausen was dealt the loss for giving up the go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth inning. Chris Capuano started for the Mets and tossed six innings of two-run ball in the no-decision.

Taking the hill for New York this evening will be knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Dickey is just 5-9 in 23 games (22 starts) this season and lost at Washington the last time out on Saturday. In the 3-0 decision, Dickey yielded three runs and six hits in six innings of work.

"There's no question, R.A. has deserved to win more games than he has," Mets manager Terry Collins said on the club's website.

Dickey hasn't collected many wins throughout his career against Atlanta, going 1-2 with a 4.93 ERA in eight career matchups, five of which have been starts. He did not record a decision the last time he faced the Braves in a 9-8 loss back on June 16 at Turner Field. The righty yielded six runs -- four earned -- in four innings that day.

New York is 5-4 against Atlanta this season.
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