Uggla powers Marlins past Braves
Native Floridian Chris Volstad said he has never felt comfortable wearing long sleeves in a game, so on a chilly night at Turner Field his strategy was to work fast and then hunker down near the dugout heater.
Volstad allowed only five baserunners in seven innings while combining with two relievers on a four-hitter and the Florida Marlins launched a nine-game road trip with a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.
"I was freezing my butt off," said the 22-year-old Volstad.
The temperature for the first pitch at Turner Field was 56 degrees, and it was a few degrees cooler 2 hours, 31 minutes later after Volstad, Leo Nunez and Matt Lindstrom finished holding the Braves under four runs for the first time this season.
"It was cold to me," Volstad said. "I was sitting beside the heater every inning."
Dan Uggla drove in three runs with two hits for the Marlins, who improved to a big league best 6-1 - all against NL East opponents - for their best start since opening 1997 with an 8-1 record.
"I've been saying since spring training, we've finally got everybody healthy and that's the key," Uggla said of the team's young rotation. "They've been awesome so far."
Volstad (2-0) gave up three hits and one run in seven innings. He struck out four and walked two batters while lowering his ERA to 1.50. He has allowed only five hits in 12 innings.
"We got shut down," said Atlanta's Brian McCann, who was 0-for-4. "You couldn't figure him out. He's (6-foot-8) and he has that downward plane. It's hard to pick up."
The Marlins swept three games from Washington and won two of three against the New York Mets before winning the series opener against Atlanta.
"We just have to keep going, not worry about what we've done, and just keep doing it," Volstad said.
Uggla drove in two runs with a third-inning single off Javier Vazquez (0-1).
Kelly Johnson led off the fourth with his third homer for Atlanta's first hit off Volstad. "That was the only sinker that didn't sink," Volstad said.
Nunez and Lindstrom each pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Volstad.
The Braves' only other threat came in the sixth, when pinch-hitter Martin Prado hit a leadoff double and Volstad walked Yunel Escobar. The runners were stranded at second and third on infield groundouts by Chipper Jones and McCann.
Vazquez struck out 12 in six innings, which tied for the fourth-highest total of his career, while giving up five hits and three runs. He set a career high with 14 strikeouts for Montreal against the Chicago Cubs on April 9, 2003, and had two games with 13 strikeouts.
"To strike out 12 in six innings, that's something," said Braves manager Bobby Cox. "Obviously, he had good stuff."
Vazquez struck out the side in the third, but gave up three runs on three hits and a walk in the inning. After one-out singles by Emilio Bonifacio and John Baker, Hanley Ramirez struck out and Ross Gload walked to load the bases. Uggla's single past Escobar into center field drove in two runs, and Gload scored on a wild pitch.
"I was trying to keep (Uggla) off base," Vazquez said. "I didn't want to walk him in that situation. ... I was staying in the strike zone, trying to get people out. I should have been more aggressive in the strike zone in that inning."
Braves left fielder Garret Anderson dropped two balls in foul territory for errors, matching his combined two errors in 498 chances for the 2006-08 seasons with the Angels.
Anderson's drop of Bonifacio's foul ball helped the Marlins score two runs, including one unearned, in the eighth. Bonifacio singled and scored on Baker's double to left off Jeff Bennett.
After Ramirez singled and stole second base and Gload walked to load the bases, Uggla hit a run-scoring single to right. Jeff Francoeur threw out Ramirez at the plate.
"Bennett had some great stuff working," Uggla said. "I kind of just stuck my bat out there and it found a hole."
Florida's home game against the Philadelphia Phillies schedule for Sept. 21 has been moved to July 16. The game will start at 7:10 p.m. as the opening game of a four-game series. ... RF Alfredo Amezaga, activated off the 15-day disabled list on Sunday, made his first start. ... Gload started as 1B Jorge Cantu (hand) was held out.