Atlanta’s Dan Uggla blasts a three-run home run in the first inning, giving the Braves an early lead against the Marlins. The Braves held on to win, 7-5, and are now five games behind Washington in the NL East.
MIAMI — Dan Uggla got Atlanta started with his bat. His glove helped finish off his former club.
Uggla hit a three-run home run in the first inning and sprawled to snare a ground ball that ended a Miami threat in the eighth, Martin Prado tied a career best with four hits and the Braves beat the Marlins 7-5 on Monday night.
It was the fourth straight win for Atlanta, which moved within five games of idle Washington in the NL East.
“Three-run homer, but for me Danny saved us defensively,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “Here’s a guy that gets a bad rap at times defensively, and he saved the game for us today making a bunch of plays.”
It was Uggla’s first three-RBI game since Aug. 15. Uggla has 13 RBI in 12 games against Miami this season, more than anyone else has managed against the Marlins.
And even though Miami’s current stadium was never his home — he played up the road at Sun Life Stadium when he was a Marlin — Uggla clearly still has good feelings when he returns to South Florida.
Uggla has seven homers in 72 games this season at his home park, Turner Field. He’s homered three times in only six games at Marlins Park.
“The fans here, I had a great relationship with them,” Uggla said. “I felt like they liked the way I played, enjoyed and appreciated the way I played down here. It’s always fun to come back and play in front of them.”
Tim Hudson (15-6) allowed a season-high 10 hits in five innings, still beating the Marlins for the fifth straight time. Atlanta — which swept a three-game series from Washington over the weekend — moved within five games of the idle Nationals in the NL East.
Gorkys Hernandez had his first three-hit game for Miami, the rookie’s average going from .157 to .178. Bryan Petersen and Hernandez hit consecutive triples in a four-run fourth inning for Miami.
Miami was without right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, out because of muscle soreness in his rib cage. Chipper Jones got the night off for Atlanta and Prado went 4 for 4 playing third base in his place, including an RBI single in the eighth.
“We battled. We make this game pretty fun,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We went out and didn’t give up. We battled back against good pitching. We just had one bad inning with a bad pitch to Uggla.”
Craig Kimbrel gave up a one-out single to Miami’s Jose Reyes in the ninth, but escaped for his 37th save in 40 chances.
The Braves wasted little time against Marlins starter Wade LeBlanc (2-5), getting four hits and four runs in the first. Prado’s RBI single opened the scoring, and Uggla followed that with his 19th homer of the season.
“That was just a mistake,” LeBlanc said. “I tried to go away and left it middle. To a hitter like that, you can’t afford to do that.”
Miami had two runners on while trailing by two in the eighth, when Petersen hit a grounder into the hole between first and second. Uggla got to the ball, then scrambled to make the throw to first just in time and end the inning.
For a while, it didn’t seem as if such defensive heroics would necessary. Jeff Baker and Hudson had RBI singles for Atlanta in the fourth, pushing the lead to 6-0.
“We kind of let them back in the game a little bit,” Gonzalez said.
The Braves came into the night 50-0 when scoring at least six runs.
The Marlins, apparently, weren’t deterred.
And for a welcome change — at least from the Miami perspective — some home-field advantage helped the Marlins get back into the game.
A night after John Buck flied out to the deepest part of cavernous Marlins Park for the final out of Miami’s 5-4, 11-inning loss to Cincinnati — it prompted plenty of discussion in the team’s clubhouse Monday about whether the fences are too far from home plate — the huge outfield gaps played a big role in Miami rallying.
The pair of triples got Miami right back into things. Petersen’s came first, bringing home Donovan Solano and Rob Brantly, and the next by Hernandez allowed Petersen to jog home and cap a four-run outburst that cut Atlanta’s lead to 6-4.
“We get a big lead, I’m not really trying to go to the corners with a big lead like that,” Hudson said. “You’ve got to tip your hat to those guys. They hit some pretty decent pitches, I think.”
Miami got within 6-5 in the seventh, Carlos Lee’s single bringing home Reyes, who hit a one-out double.
NOTES: LHP Paul Maholm (12-10) pitches for Atlanta on Tuesday night against Miami RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-12). A marquee pitching matchup awaits Wednesday, when Kris Medlen (8-1, 1.62) goes for the Braves against the Marlins’ Josh Johnson (8-12, 3.81). … Stanton, who leads the Marlins with 34 home runs, said he first felt the side-muscle issue on Saturday. Guillen said he’d rather sit Stanton for a couple days than have him miss the rest of the season, and indicated he would be evaluated Tuesday. … The Braves sat C Brian McCann (knee soreness), though Gonzalez hopes he can play Tuesday. … Braves RF Jason Heyward made a running catch of a sinking liner to end the fifth inning and save a run.