ATLANTA (AP) — Dan Uggla’s batting average is still well below .200, but the second baseman is finding his power stroke for the surging Atlanta Braves.
Uggla hit his second homer in as many games, Jair Jurrjens earned his NL-leading 12th win and the Braves beat Colorado 9-1 on Wednesday night.
Chipper Jones also hit a two-run homer and Jordan Schafer had four hits for the Braves, who have won eight of their past nine, including three straight over Colorado.
Uggla had two hits and a walk to lift his batting average to .183. He has 14 homers, but has struggled overall in his first season in Atlanta.
“My teammates have picked me up, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some low moments,” Uggla said.
“They’ve picked me up enough. It’s time for me to start picking them up.”
Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the homers in back-to-back games are not the first signs of Uggla finding his swing.
“It’s nice to see him hitting the ball hard,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not all of a sudden. There have been some signs.”
The Braves moved within three games of first-place Philadelphia in the NL East after the Phillies lost to Florida 7-6 in 10 innings.
Jurrjens (12-3) allowed one run and five hits and two walks in six innings. He has allowed no more than one run in four straight starts, leaving his NL-leading ERA at 1.87.
“He was good. Maybe not as good as we’ve seen him,” said Gonzalez of Jurrjens.
The Braves scored three runs in the first off Aaron Cook (0-4) before Jones’ homer in the third pushed the lead to 5-0.
The Rockies (41-46) have lost four straight and are five games under .500 for the first time this season.
Colorado again played without outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who were held out with wrist and quadriceps injuries, respectively. Gonzalez may return to the lineup in Thursday’s final game of the four-game series.
Before the game, Jones said a cortisone shot in his right knee after Sunday’s game did not provide much relief for the discomfort he has felt much of the season.
He found more pain in the first inning when he fouled a ball off his right ankle and immediately fell in the batter’s box. Jones slowly got up and appeared to be favoring the ankle when he ran to first base on his ground out to second.
Jones’ reward for remaining in the game came in the third when his fly ball barely cleared the left-field wall for his eighth homer.
Ian Stewart doubled and scored on Matt Pagnozzi’s single in the fifth for Colorado’s only run.
Cook struggled early in his sixth start after breaking a finger in spring training and missing the first two months of the season.
Schafer led off with a triple past Charlie Blackmon in center field. Alex Gonzalez drove in Schafer with a single to right before scoring on Brian McCann’s double to center. With two outs, McCann scored on Eric Hinske’s single for a 3-0 lead.
Jurrjens took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his 4-0, one-hit shutout of Baltimore on Friday night. He also was strong early against the Rockies, recording 10 straight outs before giving up Jonathan Herrera’s single with one out in the fourth. Herrera moved to third on Ty Wigginton’s infield hit before Seth Smith ended the inning with a fly ball to left.
Scott Linebrink struck out Wigginton with the bases loaded to end the seventh.
Cook gave up 10 hits and seven runs in five-plus innings. He was pulled after giving up singles to Hinske and Uggla in the sixth.
Rex Brothers walked Nate McLouth to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Jason Heyward’s double play grounder drove in Hinske before Schafer’s single to center pushed the lead to 7-1.
NOTES: The Rockies have six straight road losses. … OF Martin Prado, recovering from a staph infection in his right calf, began his minor league rehabilitation with Triple-A Gwinnett at Charlotte. Prado could return to the Braves after the All-Star break. … Jones hit his first homer since June 16.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)