The Atlanta Braves managed to extend their lengthy win streak despite one of their worst performances at the plate during that run.
They’ll try to keep rolling by adding to Cliff Lee’s recent issues.
The Braves will hope to take advantage of Lee’s struggles to keep the ball in the park as they look to record their second 10-game win streak of the season Sunday night.
Atlanta (66-45) had just five hits Saturday and went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position, but won 5-4 in 12 innings. Freddie Freeman hit a key two-run single in the fifth and Dan Uggla drove in the go-ahead run by beating out a potential double-play grounder.
“Uggla really busted it down the line,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “The winning run came on a double-play ball, but our two runners made a difference.”
The Braves are batting .303 with 62 runs during their streak and had 10 or more hits in six consecutive games before Saturday’s win. They’ll try to recapture that prowess when they face Lee (10-4, 3.05 ERA) for the second time in less than a month.
He kept the Braves scoreless for six innings July 5 before giving up four runs in his final frame. Uggla hit a three-run homer, but Philadelphia’s bullpen closed it out to give Lee a 5-4 victory.
He’s 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA in his two starts since that game with all nine of his runs allowed coming on seven homers. He gave up three longballs in a 5-0 loss to the New York Mets on July 21 and had to skip a scheduled start July 27 due to neck stiffness.
Lee was rumored to be on the trading block, but Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said there were few discussions about the left-hander.
“To be frank … someone would have had to bowl us over to do something on Cliff,” Amaro told the team’s official website. “He’s a top-of-the-rotation (guy) who would be very difficult to replace.”
Prior to Lee’s rough inning against the Braves last month, he was 4-1 with a 0.78 ERA in his previous six starts in the series. He gave up two hits over eight innings and struck out eight in a 2-0 win April 4.
Atlanta followed that loss with 10 consecutive wins from April 5-16.
The Braves’ Alex Wood (1-2, 3.51) will try to build on his first major league win against the scuffling Phillies (50-60), losers in 12 of 13 and a season-high four in a row at home. In his third career start, Wood gave up three runs over seven innings and struck out seven in an 11-3 victory against Colorado on Tuesday.
The left-hander could have a prime chance to pick up another victory as Atlanta has won 10 of 14 in Philadelphia in the past two seasons. The Braves started that stretch with a three-game sweep July 6-8, 2012.
Darin Ruf, who has reached base in 31 consecutive games, is the only active Phillies player to get a hit off Wood. His streak is the longest in the majors this season and the longest by a Philadelphia hitter since Chase Utley’s 33-game run Sept. 7, 2008-April 22, 2009.
Justin Upton, batting .353 with three homers during an eight-game hit streak, is 5 for 9 against Lee over the past two seasons.