If there is something the Braves can find bigger than one game in a dramatic come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the San Francisco Giants Saturday afternoon, it’s the fact that BJ Upton has found his groove in the month of June.
During his hitting slump the newly acquired Braves outfielder spent countless hours in the batting cages working on the timing of his leg kick and his swing, now the benefits of his hard work are finally coming to fruition .
Upton went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a pair of homers, his first multi-homer game in a Braves uniform and sixth of his career.
“B.J. is a hard worker,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “He is always in the cage tweaking something and now we are starting to see his hard work pay off.”
In the month of June Upton leads the team in homeruns (4) and has a .250 average with a .388 on base percentage, the third best on the team amongst everyday starters.
During his struggles early in the season, Gonzalez stood by Upton and despite an overwhelming pressure to bench the player worth $72.5 million over the course of five years Gonzalez didn’t waver in his beliefs.
“You just have to stick with your players and be a little patient, he had some good at bats and stole a base for us. It’s gotta be good for him,” Gonzalez said.
Upton’s first homer was a 450 feet mammoth shot, (or mammo as former Brave Chipper Jones would say), over the left field fence to give Atlanta an early 1-0 lead. His second shot was a two-run homer that came on a 3-2 pitch to set up the late inning heroics from Freddie Freeman with a bases loaded single to win the game.
Despite his good fortune in June, Upton still has a way to go to erase an abysmal start to the season. Upton has the second lowest batting average (.166) in the National League behind New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis. Hopefully this will be a start of good things to come from the highly touted outfielder.
“This definitely gives me some momentum,” Upton said. “Things haven’t quite worked out the way I wanted but it’s all starting to come together,”
The Braves will close out its series against San Francisco and welcome the New York Mets to Turner Field for a five game series starting Monday and a double header Tuesday.