ATLANTA -- Brian McCann was really down on himself. Hes feeling a lot better now. McCann came through with a three-run homer that may go down as one of Atlantas biggest hits of the season, helping the Braves snap a four-game losing streak and move a step closer to the playoffs with a 7-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Tuesday night. McCanns homer came one night after he struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth inning of a tie game. Florida went on to win 5-4 in the 12th, handing the Braves their longest skid of the season. "Last night, I was the big downer," said McCann, who homered in the sixth with the Braves trailing 1-0. "Its nice to come through." Dan Uggla added a three-run shot in the seventh -- giving him a career-best 34 homers on the year -- but he said McCanns drive was the one that really loosened the Braves up. "That took a lot of pressure off the whole team," Uggla said. "That was not just a three-run homer. That could be one of the biggest homers this year." The Braves, whose lead over St. Louis in the NL wild-card standings remained at 4 1/2 games, held a private meeting before the game in hopes of shaking things up. It worked. Uggla drew a one-out walk from Brad Hand (1-7), Matt Diaz singled to right and McCann came through with a towering shot over the centre-field wall for his 24th homer. Peter Moylan (2-1) claimed the win by getting the final out in the top half after taking over for starter Mike Minor. The Cardinals kept pace in the playoff race, beating Pittsburgh 6-4, but Atlanta has only 13 games left. The Braves had gone 36 innings since their last lead, struggling especially to drive home runners from third with less than two outs. McCann was one of the culprits. "Last night was rough on me," he said. "To come back and help the team get a win is huge for me." With his team having lost seven of nine to take away some of its comfort in the playoff race, manager Fredi Gonzalez called a private meeting before batting practice. Chipper Jones described it as "basically a circling of the wagons" designed to rouse the Braves from their worst stretch of the season. McCanns homer was a huge relief. He came into the game mired in 5-for-28 slump (.179) and had gone nearly two weeks since his last long ball. "Hes our rock," Uggla said. "We depend on him a lot. Thats a big load on his shoulders." Hand has walked 34 in 56 innings, and the free pass to Uggla started his trouble in the sixth. "He pitched good for five innings. But its a nine-inning game," manager Jack McKeon said. "Inexperience, really. You get the lead, youve got to close. Youve got to shut em down if you want to be a winner." Ugglas homer turned it into a laugher. Jones led off with a single to centre, Freddie Freeman walked and Uggla teed off on a 1-2 pitch from Brian Sanches, driving it deep into the left-field seats to eclipse his previous career high -- 33 homers with the Marlins last season. "Our pitchers should know Uggla," McKeon said. "But we always seem to make a mistake to him." Considering he struggled through the first two months under .200, Uggla has produced quite a turnaround. Hes homered four times off his former team. "Thats why you play the whole season," he said. "Youve just got to stay positive, stay the course, keep on working and dont get down on yourself." Michael Bourn added a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Minor lasted 5 2-3 innings for the Braves. He allowed four hits, including Emilio Bonifacios run-scoring single in the fifth that broke a scoreless tie. Donnie Murphy led off with a walk -- one of four issued by Minor -- and Matt Dominguez followed with a single to centre that put runners at first and third. Hand sacrificed Dominguez to second, and Bonifacio came through with a liner to right. Dominguez had to hold at third on Bonifacios hit and remained stranded there when Omar Infantes flyout to left wasnt deep enough for the runner to tag. Minor got out of the jam on Greg Dobbs liner to third. The rookie left-hander is looking as though hes ready to help in the post-season, especially if the Braves are without injured starters Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson. "I feel better and better every time I go out there," Minor said. "I feel like more a part of the team than just a fill-in. I think they kind of trust me now a little bit." NOTES: The Braves announced before the game that assistant general manager Bruce Manno will now oversee the player development department as well. In addition, Ronnie Richardson was promoted to director of minor league operations and John Coppolella moved up to director of professional scouting. ... Florida quietly released 38-year-old OF Mike Cameron after Mondays win over the Braves, deciding to go with younger players for the final two weeks of the season. ... Florida OF Logan Morrison had his right knee drained but an MRI showed no serious damage. He hasnt played since crashing into a wall at Pittsburgh last Friday. http://www.nhlblackhawkshockeyshop.com/Red-Brandon-Saad-Jersey/
. The urgency to spend some of the cash brought in from Barcelona for Cesc Fabregas and from Manchester City for Samir Nasri came after a dismal start to the season. Just one point has been collected from Arsenals first three league matches, including an 8-2 rout by Manchester United on Sunday. http://www.nhlblackhawkshockeyshop.com/Red-David-Rundblad-Jersey/
. The top-seeded pair defeated fourth seeds Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Ana Konjuh of Croatia 6-4, 6-3. It was the second straight junior doubles title for Bouchard, who also won last year with a different partner, Grace Min of the U. http://www.nhlblackhawkshockeyshop.com/Red-Duncan-Keith-Jersey/. For the first time since the famous "Freezer Bowl," the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals will square off in the NFL playoffs on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. http://www.nhlblackhawkshockeyshop.com/Red-Chris-Chelios-Jersey/
.C. -- Ben Street and Joni Ortio continue to carry the Abbotsford Heat night in, night out. http://www.nhlblackhawkshockeyshop.com/Red-Andrew-Shaw-Jersey/
. The Athletics company will become the official kit partner of Arsenal effective July 1 of this year.Daniel and Henrik Sedin avoided free agency at seasons end with each signing a four-year, $28 million contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks. The brothers will each earn an average of $7 million per season. The deal will see the 33-year-old Swedish twins remain in a Canucks uniform through the 2017-18 season and likely finish their NHL careers in Vancouver. "Daniel and Henrik are exemplary leaders, teammates and humanitarians and were very pleased to have them as part of our team for the long-term," said general manager Mike Gillis. "Few players in the history of this club have had more significant roles in contributing to the success of this team and to our community and we look forward to many more years with their positive influence leading the way.&quuot; The Sedins are in the final year of a five-year, $30.dddddddddddd5 million deal they signed ahead of the 2009-10 season. Henrik holds franchise records for most points (792), assists (610), plus/minus (+200) and consecutive games played (629). The Ornskoldsvik, SWE, native ranks second in franchise history in games played (940) and third in game-winning goals (33). Daniel ranks second in franchise history in scoring, passing Naslund with a two-point effort April 22/13 versus the Chicago Blackhawks. The brothers were drafted by the Canucks in the first round of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Daniel getting selected second overall and Henrik going third. They spent their entire NHL careers with the Canucks, registering a combined 473 goals and 1,550 points over 12 seasons. ' ' '