Uggla hits seventh homer in exhibition finale

Uggla hits seventh homer in exhibition finale

Uggla hits seventh homer in exhibition finale
GWINNETT, Ga. -- The future looked good, but the present is still just a little bit better.

Brian McCann ripped an RBI double to cap a three-run fifth inning on Tuesday night at Coolray Field, as the Atlanta Braves topped the Braves Futures Stars, 4-3, in a rain-shortened game.

Christhian Martinez got the win for Atlanta, despite allowing two runs in the top of the fifth inning, while Sean Graham of Class A Lynchburg took the loss.

Pitching was the order of the day, as Atlanta starter Mike Minor and Futures starter Sean Gilmartin both were solid.

Minor threw three innings, allowing only one unearned run and one hit. He walked one and struck out four. The one walk came to the game's first hitter, center fielder Matt Lipka (Lynchburg), who stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher David Ross and then scored on a groundout.

"I'm used to this place, so it was good to go out there again," said Minor, who's spent parts of the last two years in Gwinnett. "I've seen the older guys, the Double-A, Triple-A guys, some of those guys I had no idea what they had. I could tell by where they were in the lineup and how big they were what kind of hitters they were."

Minor, who will start on Sunday in the finale of the season-opening series against the Mets, finished the spring with a 2.00 ERA (six earned runs in 27 innings).

Dan Uggla tied the game in the second, crushing a 3-2 fastball from Gilmartin over the wall in left-center field. The ball went over the 30-foot restraining wall and hit the top of a tent covering a private party. It was Uggla's seventh homer of the spring, tying him for the Major League lead.

It also was the only mistake Gilmartin made. The Braves' first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft went two innings, allowing just the one run and one hit, striking out two. Gilmartin, who will start the year at Double-A Mississippi, finished spring with a 1-0 record, a 3.38 ERA and the praises of both managers.

"He was great," said Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He threw a fastball to a guy who hits fastballs and didn't miss it. But he's been impressive for me the whole Spring Training."

"Gilmartin looked really good," agreed Bobby Cox, who managed the Futures. "We've got a lot to look forward to, with the pitching especially. I didn't know it was going to be that good."

Minor was followed by Livan Hernandez, who made his Braves debut, throwing a scoreless inning.

The Futures took the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs off Cristhian Martinez. One run scored on a throwing error by Ross, the other on a caught-stealing rundown. Lynchburg's Edward Salcedo scored the second run, reaching on a single then stealing second and third before coming in.

In the bottom half of the inning, Juan Francisco singled to lead off, was sacrificed to second by Ross and scored on Michael Bourn's RBI double, his first of two hits. Martin Prado followed with an RBI triple and Brian McCann laced an RBI double to give Atlanta the lead for good.

After Kris Medlen threw a scoreless sixth and O'Flaherty hurled a scoreless seventh, the rains came and washed out the remainder of the game.

• Freddie Freeman stole his first base of the spring, swiping second base in the fourth inning. It was Atlanta's only stolen base of the night.

• Jason Heyward wowed the crowd with a bullet throw from mid-right to third that nearly got Brandon Drury trying to tag in the fifth inning.

• Braves president John Schuerholz led the crowd in a rendition of "Take Me Out To the Ball Game" during the seventh-inning stretch.

• Minor threw two more innings in a simulated game after coming out of the ballgame.

• Atlanta finished the spring 10-18-5, and was 7-7-4 in home games.

Jon Cooper is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.