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TEX@ATL: Uggla's double ties the game in the eighth

ATLANTA -- With Dan Uggla notching two extra-base hits in a game for the first time this year, the Braves had the good. They also experienced the bad via Freddie Freeman's second four-strikeout game in the past week and the ugly via while committing a season-high three errors for the second straight night.

Attempting to battle through an injury bug that has depleted both their lineup and bullpen, the Braves were fortunate that Uggla managed to restore hope on a day that seemed destined for despair.

But after Uggla delivered an eighth-inning game-tying double at Turner Field on Saturday, Adrian Beltre helped Texas regain the lead with an RBI single that proved decisive in a 5-4, 10-inning win over Atlanta.

"I think any time you lose an extra-inning game, that's a tough loss," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Especially after you battle back against a pretty good opponent, a real good opponent, maybe the best opponent we've seen so far as far as a 25-man roster. ... You battle back, you battle back and have a chance a couple of times in the eighth and ninth inning and don't get it."

Instead of adding to the frustrations the Rangers felt as they entered this series having been outscored, 43-12, during a five-game losing streak, the Braves have allowed the defending American League champions to regain their swagger with plenty of assistance.

The Braves have committed six errors in the first two games of the series and eight over their past three games. During the four games he has played since returning, right fielder Jason Heyward has been responsible for three of those miscues.

This has been a rough return for Heyward, who was criticized for not running hard on a seventh-inning grounder Friday night. The 21-year-old right fielder's struggles were extended in Saturday's first inning when he allowed Elvis Andrus' single to roll under his glove. When Freeman fumbled Josh Hamilton's grounder that followed, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead before the Braves had recorded the game's first out.

"That kind of put us behind the eight-ball there," said Gonzalez, who has seen his team lose five of six since winning a sixth consecutive game last weekend.

After waiting through a long rain delay, the Braves battled back to tie the game with single runs in the sixth and eighth innings. But the inability to use left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty, who has battled a stiff back, once again caught up to the Braves, who had to go with Scott Proctor in the 10th, even though he had pitched both of the previous two days.

Ian Kinsler began the 10th by greeting Proctor with a double down the right-field line. After Hamilton was intentionally walked, Beltre delivered his game-winner to left-center. Proctor has allowed a run in three of his past eight appearances.

While the bullpen certainly misses O'Flaherty and Peter Moylan, who has been out since the second week of April, the lineup is definitely missing Martin Prado, who will likely miss a couple of more weeks with a staph infection, and Chipper Jones, who likely won't return to the lineup before Monday because of a strained right adductor muscle.

"It seems like this locker room is just rotating," Atlanta starter Derek Lowe said. "It seems like every couple of days you're getting a new pitcher or new position player. I think it tests you."

While Lowe never thought about returning after rain delayed the game for two hours and 16 minutes with two outs in the fifth, the Rangers opted to bring Matt Harrison back to do more than simply get the one out he needed to qualify for a win.

Harrison, one of the prospects the Braves traded to get Mark Teixeira from the Rangers in 2007, allowed a two-out, sixth-inning homer to Brian McCann and then ended his day by beginning the bottom of the seventh with the third of Freeman's four strikeouts. The 25-year-old southpaw threw 102 pitches and completed 6 1/3 innings over approximately four hours.

"I've never really seen somebody come back after that long of a rain delay," Uggla said. "I thought he was just going to go that extra out He ended up pitching in two more innings. He showed a lot of what he's made of tonight and pitched a great game."

After Lowe accounted for the first of the Braves' four hits with a third-inning two-out double, Rangers left fielder Nelson Cruz extended the inning by dropping Jordan Schafer's long fly ball. Uggla accounted for the inning's second run with an RBI double down the left-field line -- -- his first hit against a left-handed pitcher in a span of 30 at-bats, dating back to May 11.

Uggla's encouraging performance almost ended in celebratory fashion. The veteran second baseman, who is hitting just .177, tied the game with his one-out eighth-inning double that bounced off the top of the center-field wall and stayed in play. It scored Schafer, who had sparked the inning with a bunt that put him on second base courtesy of veteran reliever Darren Oliver's errant throw.

"That shows a lot about a team's character when you fight back after being down 4-0," Uggla said. "We just came up a little short. I mean inches."

While the Braves nearly won it in the eighth, they fought an uphill battle throughout the afternoon. One of the two runs the Rangers scored in the third came courtesy of former Braves prospect Elvis Andrus stealing home after McCann threw to second base in an attempt to retire Hamilton, who was trying to steal.

Still, even with the offense struggling again and their defense proving to be an early detriment, Atlanta had a chance to be the ones enjoying the conclusion of this long day.

"It was a battle, it really was," Texas manager Ron Washington said. Comments