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Uggla homers and Braves topple Mets

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Posted: March 23, 2012 9:02 p.m.
Updated: March 23, 2012 9:00 p.m.
Uggla homers and Braves topple Mets

Atlanta Braves' Dan Uggla bats against the Washington Nationals in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game in Kissimmee, Fla., in this March 14, 2012, file photo.


    KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Mike Minor struggled against the New York Mets on Friday. And that was OK with him.
    A candidate to be the Braves' fifth starter this season, Minor had his 14-inning scoreless streak snapped in the first inning of Atlanta's 9-4 victory over the New York Mets.
    Dan Uggla hit his fifth home run of the spring and drove in three runs to help the Braves break open a tie game.
    Coming off a season where he hit a career-high 36 homers, Uggla broke a 4-4 tie with his two-out shot to left field in the fifth. He also drove in a run in the first on a grounder that scored Prado, who had two triples and drove in two runs.
    New York tied the game in the fifth on a two-run Mike Baxter single, but left the bases loaded and did not score again.
    Josh Thole, Vinny Rottino and Baxter each had two hits for the Mets. Starter Jonathon Niese gave up four runs and four hits in four innings.
    Minor's streak ended when he allowed an unearned run in the first inning when Daniel Murphy walked and scored when Lucas Duda reached on an error by left fielder Martin Prado.
    Scheduled to go six innings, Minor left in the fifth after giving up three runs, two earned, while walking four and striking out three.
    After giving up an unearned run in the second, Minor got out of a bases-loaded jam without giving up a second run, but his stuff just wasn't there overall.
    "It seemed like the whole time I was in a jam," Minor said. "I figure I need one of these days during spring training where I don't have everything together and get practice. It was good practice going through the struggles. Better to do it now than in the regular season."
    Minor was even having trouble with his fastball. Only his changeup was working good.
    "I couldn't locate it," he said. "I'd try to throw it for a strike and they (New York) would hit it pretty hard. Every hitter was taking me two or three balls into the count. Not the greatest day."
    Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez took the same approach
    "He's been going along pretty smoothly," Gonzalez said. "It's nice to see the adversity and how a young man reacts to it and I thought he did a nice job."
    NOTES: Chipper Jones, who announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of the season, had the day off and did not play. ... Drew Sutton played third for Atlanta and went 0 for 3. ... Mike Pelfrey will start for the Mets on Saturday when they host St. Louis. ... Uggla entered the day tied for third in the Grapefruit League for home runs. ... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman left the game after a foul ball bounced off his wrist, but Gonzalez expects him to play Saturday against Toronto.

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