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J. Upton out of starting lineup with sore back

Left fielder hit by pitch two innings after collision on rundown Saturday

ATLANTA -- Justin Upton did not start in left field Sunday when the Braves looked to sweep the Cubs and take some momentum with them as they head to the West Coast.

As expected, the Braves' All-Star left fielder, who left Saturday night's 2-0 victory with a lower back muscle contusion after getting hit in the back by a Jeff Samardzija fastball in the sixth inning, got the homestand finale off. The combination of the tagging out of Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who has an inch and 35 pounds on the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Upton, in the wild 9-6-3-4-6-3-6-7 fourth-inning rundown, then getting hit with the 94-mph fastball two innings later, plus the early start was too risky.

"With a short turnaround, we'll probably let him rest," manager Fredi Gonzalez said following Saturday's game. "Hopefully, it doesn't materialize into anything more than a sore back."

Not helping matters is the Braves' cross-country flight to the West Coast, where they'll begin a three-game series with San Francisco on Monday.

Ryan Doumit, who had his first game-winning hit as a Brave on Saturday night with a pinch-hit RBI double in the seventh, made his third start of the season in left field Sunday and batted sixth.

Entering Sunday, Upton led the Braves with nine homers and his 19 RBIs were one off the pace of team leader Freddie Freeman. Upton's been especially lethal at Turner Field, where he had blasted seven of his homers, the most home round-trippers of any player in the Majors, and was hitting .371, the sixth-best home average in the National League -- tied with Rizzo.

Jon Cooper is a contributor to
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