Uggla’s 3-run homer helps Nationals complete biggest rally

ATLANTA (AP) Dan Uggla knows his last two seasons with the Atlanta Braves were a long nightmare.

But he has different feelings for Turner Field in his first season with the Washington Nationals.

”I had a lot of great memories here,” Uggla said. ”Whatever the case is – everybody knows the story of how it’s gone the last couple of years – but that doesn’t take away from any of my good memories here.”

Uggla drove in five runs, three on a homer in the ninth inning, to help Washington rally from the franchise’s biggest deficit to beat the Atlanta Braves 13-12 on Tuesday night and snap a six-game losing streak.

The Nationals twice trailed by eight runs but chipped away at the lead as Jose Lobaton hit a three-run homer in a four-run fifth, Denard Span hit a solo homer in the sixth and Uggla had a two-run triple and Reed Johnson a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh.

”We stayed in the game,” Nationals manager Matt Williams said. ”We had some good at-bats, some grind at-bats – good all-around.”

Washington’s previous biggest comeback was on June 17, 2006, when it trailed the New York Yankees by seven runs.

It marked the first time the Nationals have won a game in which they allowed 11 runs – and the outcome was reverse fortune from July 20, 2012, at home when Stephen Strasburg led the Braves 9-0 in the sixth but Washington lost 11-10 in 11 innings.

Uggla, released last year by the Braves and still owed over $18 million at the time, was booed in every at-bat, but he quieted the crowd with his first homer for Washington, a blast into the seats in left field off closer Jason Grilli (0-1).

”As a friend, it’s tough,” said Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who still has pictures of his friend and former teammate in his locker. ”He played the game the right way and hustled every single time. Fans are going to react how fans are going to react. It’s definitely tough, but he kind of shut them up tonight, didn’t he?”

A.J. Pierzynski went 4 for 4 with four RBIs and Freeman went 4 for 6 for Atlanta.

Grilli allowed three hits, three runs, one walk and struck out two. It was his first blown save in eight chances.

Blake Treinen (1-2) gave up two hits, one run, three walks and struck out one to earn the victory. Drew Storen earned his fifth save after facing four batters in the ninth.

The teams combined for 32 hits.

Pierzynski, who put Atlanta up 10-2 in the fourth and 11-7 in the sixth with RBI singles, gave the Braves a 12-10 lead in the seventh with another RBI single.

The 38-year-old Pierzynski, signed as a backup catcher in January, has a .475 average and 14 RBIs in 40 career at-bats against Washington.

Atlanta starter Julio Teheran allowed 10 hits and seven runs – three earned – and struck out four. He has given up 12 earned runs in his last three starts, a span of 15 innings, to raise his ERA over three runs to 4.64.

Nationals starter A.J. Cole, recalled from Triple-A Syracuse earlier in the day, gave up nine hits, one walk and nine runs – four earned – in his first career start. The right-hander struck out one in what could be his only turn in the rotation as ace Max Scherzer recovers from a sprained right thumb.

Scherzer, who missed his first start since signing a $210 million contract with Washington, threw a bullpen session before the game and said he hopes to make his next start this week.

Scherzer didn’t let the injury wipe out his pleasure in ribbing Uggla by pouring chocolate syrup on the second baseman during his postgame interview.

”There’s some crazy dudes in here, and they get excited and love to show it,” Uggla said. ”It fired me up. I’m a pretty low-key, mellow guy, but seeing them so excited – I was already pretty jacked up – just the energy flows through your body and goes through the dugout like it did. It was pretty cool.”

Atlanta made it 8-1 with a seven-run second. Simmons had a two-run single, Cole made a two-run fielding error while trying to cover first on Alberto Callaspo’s grounder, Kelly Johnson had a two-run double and Jace Peterson an RBI single.

The error by Cole was Nationals’ 23rd, most in the majors.

Jayson Werth had two sacrifice flies for the Nationals.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Nationals: Williams said 3B Yunel Escobar’s left hand is ”scraped up pretty good” after Andrelton Simmons’ hard slide into third the night before. Williams added that Escobar could have played Tuesday ”if he had to,” but said he still hasn’t tried to grip a bat. … Williams said 3B Anthony Rendon, on the DL with a sprained left knee ligament, felt tightness in his side when he reported for Tuesday’s rehab game at Double-A Harrisburg and didn’t play. Rendon was pulled from Monday’s lineup because of fatigue. … Johnson left the game for a pinch-runner, starting pitcher Doug Fister, in the seventh after injuring his left foot.

Braves: Manager Fredi Gonzalez was initially worried that Simmons had been hurt on the play, but insisted he wasn’t trying to hurt Escobar. ”He just slid late,” Gonzalez said. ”I’m sorry Escobar got banged up. I hope it’s not too serious, but there’s nothing malicious about it whatsoever.”

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-2) will try to win for the first time in four starts. Zimmermann is 4-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 10 career starts against Atlanta.

Braves: LHP Alex Wood (1-0) is 3-1 with a 1.49 ERA in six career starts against Washington.