It’s been nearly 2 1/2 months of scuffling for Justin Upton, and Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez has been questioned and criticized for continuing to bat him in the third spot in the lineup.
That made it just a little sweeter for them when Upton came through with a two-run double in the 14th inning Monday night, sending the Braves to a 7-1 win against the Marlins, who came apart in the final inning of a very long night.
“It was a long game, but we kept hitting and put up a few runs,” said Upton, who had two doubles and a sacrifice fly. “To come through in that situation, you’re not going to get it done every time, but when you can it’s nice.”
Gerald Laird added a two-run, two-out single in the inning, and two more runs scored on a Chris Johnson single that was booted in left field. That made it six runs and four hits in the 14th for the Braves, who had 24 consecutive batters retired before the inning.
“We didn’t do anything in the middle of the game, and we swung the bats there at the end,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves pushed their National League East lead back to five games over Washington. “A lot of guys had good at-bats (in the 14th). Justin, Gerald, even (Tyler) Pastornicky came in and kept that line moving.”
The tie-breaking double by Upton was the first hit for the Braves since Jason Heyward’s leadoff triple in the sixth, and drove in their first runs since Upton brought in Heyward with a sacrifice fly.