Jurrjens gets 10th as Braves defeat Padres

SAN DIEGO – Jair Jurrjens had to wiggle out of few jams on the way to his 10th win Saturday, becoming the first National League pitcher to double-digit wins on a night when the Braves also got a season-high four RBIs from Dan Uggla.

Jurrjens allowed three hits and one run in six innings of a 10-1 win against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, improving to 10-3 while trimming his league-leading ERA to 2.07 in 14 starts.

Uggla had a three-run homer in the ninth to cap his first four-RBI game of the season, as the Braves  scored seven runs in the final two innings to blow open what had been a close game through seven.

But the night belonged to Jurrjens, who notched his 10th win on the same day as the Tigers' Justin Verlander and Yankees' C.C. Sabathia became the first American Leaguers to 10 wins. Jurrens has three fewer starts than either  of them.

"He's been the most consistent guy we've had," said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose Braves moved back to within four games of NL East leader Philadelphia. "Even on nights like this, where he didn't have his good stuff, he keeps you in the game. Good for us and for him that we were able to get the offense going and get him his 10th victory."

Jurrjens had four walks – only the second time he walked more than two all season -- but worked out of two-on, no-out situations three times in six innings.

““The last couple of starts, my command was not like I want it to be," the right-hander said. "Today was a lucky day. Any time you walk four and only give up one run....  I made my pitches when I needed to make my pitches, but it’s not really a way I want to keep pitching this season.”

Jurrjens has three fewer starts than most others on the wins leader board after opening the season on the disabled list for a groin strain. The last Braves pitcher to get his 10th win in 14 or fewer starts was Tom Glavine in 2002.

"He’s got 10 wins on a team with no run support," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "That’s pretty impressive."

“You need to have some luck, too," said Jurrjens, one of the only Braves pitchers who has actually received decent support on a team that's struggled offensively. "Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. The guys have been giving me a lot of run support, and I’ve been able to maintain [leads] until we get to the bullpen.

"That makes it easy when you’ve got offense on your side. You can concentrate a little bit more and you can make mistakes."

Uggla reached base four times on two hits and two walks, after starting the day with a majors-worst .175 average and .238 on-base percentage.  He's 7-f0r-27 with two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in his past seven games.

He's made some adjustments with his swing, including keeping his head more still and beginning his toe-tap timing mechanism a little sooner.

"I’ve just been trying to start earlier, mostly," he said. "If I tap [my toe] earlier, it’s going to give me more time to be on time with  a fastball and be able to recognize off-speed.

"A lot of times [this season] I’ve gone up there thinking about when I should be tapping, instead of just focusing on picking up the ball. But that’s what happens when you’re struggling and your timing’s off."

Jason Heyward and Nate McLouth added two doubles apiece for the Braves, who outhit the Padres 12-4 -- one day after the Padres outhit them 12-4 in Friday’s 11-2 San Diego win in the series opener.

The Braves staked Jurrjens to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings, after failing to score until the seventh inning Friday.

Heyward doubled in the first inning and came home on Jones’ single. Uggla walked in the second and scored on McLouth’s two-out double to center field that was misplayed by Cameron Maybin.

Alberto Gonzalez homered off Jurrjens on the first pitch of the third inning, but the Braves pushed the lead back to two runs in the sixth when Heyward hit his second double and scored on Freddie Freeman’s two-out single off Padres starter Dustin Moseley (2-7).

Jurrjens didn’t rank among the NL leaders in lowest opponents’ average before Saturday, not like teammates Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson. Nor was he among leaders in average with runners on base, a category led in the NL by the Braves’ Jonny Venters and Hanson.

But put runners in scoring position, and Jurrjens gets after it. He was sixth in the league with his .182 average yielded with runners in scoring position before Saturday, and he lopped another 18 points off that by working out of tight spots in the second, fifth and sixth innings.

“He’s a gamer, man," Uggla said of Jurrjens. "He’s going to go out and battle, and he did it again tonight. As a player, you’re never really worried with him on the mound. Because once it gets to crunch time, with runners in scoring position, he just gets that much tougher.”

After giving up a single and walk to start the second inning, Jurrjens induced a double-play grounder by Maybin and an inning-ending groundout. After issuing two walks to start the fifth, he got the next three on a flyout, sacrifice bunt and pop foul.

After a single and walk to start the sixth, Jurrjens went flyout, strikeout and flyout to get out unscathed yet again, preserving a two-run lead.

“Yeah, he was walking the tightrope tonight," said Jones, who had two hits and two RBIs.  "He made pitches when he had to. He’s been doing that the whole first half."

The Braves opened a comfortable lead with three runs in the eighth on four hits, including a run-scoring single by Uggla and two-out RBI double by McLouth.

They poured it on with four runs in the ninth, including Jordan Schafer's leadoff triple and Uggla's three-run homer with two outs.

For Uggla and Heyward, it was as good a night as either has had all season. It was welcome by the Braves, who hit .199 in their past 12 games before Saturday.

"We’ll take any contribution we can get at this point -- from anybody," Jones said. "But it’s good to see two guys who’ve either been hurt or struggling during the first half, kind of coming out of it a little bit.

"For Uggs, you’re really starting to see him have one or two good at-bats during the course of a game, and one or two bad at-bats. But he drew a couple of walks, scored a couple of runs, and then the big three-run homer to kind of cap off the night.

“And on the flipside, J-Hey was kind of the ignitor all night. When you get those guys on in the 1 or 2 spots, guys like me and Mac, and Freddie and Uggs, it warms our hearts.”