Dan Uggla has been a hot topic since coming to Atlanta last December. Between the steal of a deal Wren pulled to acquire him, the controversial four year contract extension granted before even playing one game at Turner Field, and his three month slump to begin this season, Uggla's name has been in the news more times than not. Right now, it's in the news for all of the right reasons. Tonight, it was because of his game-winning, opposite field homer in the ninth inning to give Atlanta a 6-4 win in their 100th game of the season.
Seven home runs were hit in a wild game Friday night at Great American Ballpark. The Braves game up a first inning homer for the fourth game in a row, with this one coming to Zack Cozart. Jason Heyward and Brian McCann went back-to-back in the fourth to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead and Alex Gonzalez drove in a run with a bloop single in the sixth. That lead was short-lived, though, as the Reds hit back-to-back homers of their own in the sixth with Fred Lewis and Drew Stubbs.
Trailing by one in the seventh with two outs, Martin Prado came to the plate and smacked a fastball to the center field wall. Center fielder Drew Stubbs made a leaping catch at the wall and it appeared he actually helped push the ball over the wall as he attempted to bring it back from over the fence. Fortunately for Prado, the ball bounced into the Cincinnati bullpen and the score was tied 4-4. A battle of the bullpens ensued until the ninth with neither side flinching.
Alex Gonzalez led off the ninth with a single up the middle and Brooks Conrad laid a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Gonzalez into scoring position. Nate McLouth hit the ball well, but lined to second baseman Brandon Phillies. That brought Dan Uggla and his 12-game hitting streak to the plate, who had been on the bench with a calf injury. Uggla fell behind early in the count before jacking a high fastball towards the right-center field seats. Atlanta took a 6-4 lead and the dugout (and quite a few Braves fans in attendance) erupted.
Craig Kimbrel came in the bottom half of the inning and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning to record his Major League-best 31st save.
Huge win for the club. They needed this.
The Braves and Reds will matchup again on Saturday afternoon. It'll be Derek Lowe against Homer Bailey on the mound. It will be a national broadcast on FOX.