Braves shake up lineup vs Cards, pitcher 8th

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm •  Published: May 5, 2014
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ATLANTA (AP) — Looking to shake up his run-challenged team, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez decided on something drastic.

Pitcher Aaron Harang was batting eighth for Monday night's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Second baseman Ramiro Pena took the ninth spot in the order for Atlanta, which also switched around brothers B.J. and Justin Upton. Justin moved up to the second spot, where B.J. had been hitting. The older sibling dropped down to fifth in the order.

The Braves were mired in a six-game losing streak, their longest in two years.

"The offense is sputtering around," Gonzalez said in the dugout before his team went out for batting practice. "Why not do it?"

Atlanta scored only 10 runs in its last six games, and the lack of clutch hitting was galling in a weekend sweep by the San Francisco Giants. The Braves stranded 25 runners and hit just 3-of-21 (.143) with runners in scoring position.

But, even with the Braves still clinging to first in the NL East, the offense has been a season-long issue. The team has been shut out five times and scored only one run in seven games. If not for dominant starting — the Braves have won three games 1-0 — there would be even louder grumbling about the state of the team.

Gonzalez wouldn't say how long he plans to keep the pitcher in the eighth spot, but indicated it won't be for just one game.

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