Braves outfielder B.J. Upton had a six-game hitting streak entering Monday, coinciding with his move into the lead-off spot, but the overall numbers still were modest: 6-for-26 (.231), five strikeouts, four runs scored, three RBI, four runs scored, one walk and one stolen base.
Still, it’s the latest glimmer of hope that Upton may become a consistent producer for the Braves, and manager Fredi Gonzalez said he plans to keep batting Upton first for the foreseeable future.
“He had a big two-run triple, hit a home run, got on base, stole some bases, scored some runs,” Gonzalez said. “He’s done it before, so he’s got that experience. He seems to be getting some big hits for us.
“I like (Jason) Heyward in the middle of the lineup. Why not try somebody who hasn’t done it (this season)? When I came up to (Upton) in Washington and said we were thinking about doing it, he had a big smile on his face. We didn’t break it out ‘till Houston.”
The Braves have started six different players in the lead-off spot this season. Upton supplanted rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella, who was at the top of the lineup for five games.
For the season entering Monday, Upton was hitting .205 (61-for-298) with a .271 on-base percentage and 97 strikeouts. His .152 batting average (10-for-66) against left-handers was tied for second-worst in the National League, though the Mets are not scheduled to send out any lefty starters furing this series.