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Braves eye sixth straight win at Wrigley Field

Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman have been the backbone of Atlanta's offense this season and the two were at it again last night against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The duo recorded a pair of home runs to back a solid outing for staff ace Jair Jurrjens and will try to do the same when Mike Minor takes the mound Tuesday in the second test of a four-game series with the Cubs.

Uggla and Freeman both went deep and Martin Prado was credited with the other RBI in Monday's 3-0 victory, while Jurrjens posted his 13th win with 6 1/3 shutout innings. He struck out one and was a bit off at times with five walks.

Jurrjens worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and said afterwards it helped him through his start.

"I just wanted to get out of that [first] inning to build my confidence," Jurrjens said on the club's site. "I think my confidence was down. Going into the seventh inning again was really a momentum builder. I'm going to keep growing from this outing and trying to get better."

Arodys Vizcaino, Eric O`Flaherty and Jonny Venters held the Cubs scoreless the rest of the way, with Venters notching his fifth save for the Braves, who have won five in a row and 14 of their last 18 games.

Uggla is still hot after his 33-game hitting came to an end and reached the 30-homer mark for the fifth straight season. He became the first second baseman in Major League history to record four 30-homer seasons last year.

Atlanta, which leads the National League Wild Card race by 8 1/2 games ahead of San Francisco, remained 6 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading Phillies. It will also visit the New York Mets for three games on this road trip. In injury news for the Braves, outfielder Jose Constanza left last night's series opener with a right ankle injury and could miss a few games. He exited in the sixth inning running out an infield single.

"When he's hobbling, I'm thinking knee or hammy," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He has a history with that ankle. Hopefully it's nothing major. We'll give him a couple days and then hopefully get him back in there."

Meanwhile, Minor is 3-0 with a 3.89 earned run average in his last six starts -- all Atlanta victories -- and threw six shutout innings in Thursday's 1-0 win over the Giants at Turner Field. He fanned nine batters and walked one to improve to 3-2 with a 4.26 ERA in nine starts this season. Minor beat the Cubs on Aug. 12 in a 10-4 home victory, as he gave up three runs in 5 2/3 frames.

The left-hander hopes for more success on the road and is 0-1 with a 4.98 ERA in four starts as the visitor this season.

Chicago has dropped two in a row and four of its previous six games. In last night's series-opening setback, starter Ryan Dempster was dealt the loss for permitting three runs and six hits in six innings with eight strikeouts and three walks. Aramis Ramirez had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and Carlos Pena finished 2-for-4 in defeat. Ramirez is one homer away from becoming just the fourth player in Cubs history to record at least six seasons with 25 doubles and 25 homers.

The Cubs stranded 15 men on base and went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They are 2-2 on a seven-game homestand.

"[We had] plenty of opportunities, we were just looking for the big hit," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "It's always good if you can do some damage early, and we couldn't. We created plenty of opportunities -- that's for sure."

Casey Coleman will try to make the most of his opportunity in the rotation after Carlos Zambrano was placed on the disqualified list on Aug. 13. Coleman gets the nod tonight and is 2-5 with a 7.43 earned run average in 12 games (10 starts) this season. He is 0-2 in his last five outings and lost at Houston in Wednesday's 4-3 defeat, allowing four runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Coleman, a right-hander, has struggled at Wrigley Field in 2011 as evidenced by his 0-3 record and 12.27 ERA in five games (4 starts). He has never faced the Braves in his career.

Chicago recently won two of three meetings in Atlanta from Aug. 12-14.