ATLANTA - Justin Upton
, acquired in a big offseason trade, hit one of Atlanta's three home runs and the Braves opened the season with a 7-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies
on Monday night. Freddie Freeman
and Dan Uggla also homered off Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels
, who was victimized by the long ball in his first Opening Day start.
Freeman, who connected with one on in the first inning, had three hits and drove in three runs as he built off a spring in which he hit .342 with seven homers.
A bright spot for the Phillies in the loss was Chase Utley
, who had a homer, triple and single a year after missing the first half of the season because of knee problems.
The Braves made a trade with Arizona to get Justin Upton and signed older brother B.J. as a free agent in an attempt to boost their offense. So far, the results look good.
Hamels lasted five innings and gave up five runs - all except one the result of a homer. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out five while making 89 pitches.
Braves starter Tim Hudson didn't last long enough to get the win, allowing six hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings. He walked three and struck out three, throwing 90 pitches in his sixth career start on Opening Day.
Luis Avilan got out of a bases-loaded jam after relieving Hudson and was credited with the victory. Craig Kimbrel retired the Phillies in order in the ninth inning for the save.
Freeman's first-inning homer came with two outs and followed a walk to Jason Heyward. The first baseman picked on a 2-and-1 fastball and sent a long drive into the Braves' bullpen behind the fence in right-center field.
Then Uggla, who came in with a .145 career average against Hamels, got the green light on a 3-and-0 pitch leading off the second inning and lined a homer into the left field stands.
The Braves made it 4-0 in the third inning as Freeman's two-out single scored Andrelton Simmons, who led off with a double. But the Phillies got that run back quickly when Utley connected on a 1-and-2 pitch from Hudson leading off the fourth and sent his 200th career homer over the center field fence.
Hudson didn't make it through the fifth, and the Braves were fortunate to escape still holding a lead. Utley drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single, but Avilan came in and held the Phillies right there. The left-hander struck out Ryan Howard and got Domonic Brown to ground out after an intentional walk.
Then Upton had his turn taking Hamels deep, sending a 1-and-2 pitch that caught too much of the plate over the left field fence.
NOTES: Former third baseman Chipper Jones, who played all 19 of his seasons with the Braves, got a long and loud standing ovation as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch. "I miss it today, but I won't miss it tomorrow," the future Hall of Famer said of his first Opening Day as a retiree. ... Phillies SS Jimmie Rollins made his 13th straight start on Opening Day for the Phillies, breaking a tie for the team record at his position with Larry Bowa (1970-81). ... Center fielder Ben Revere hit leadoff for the Phillies rather than Rollins, who batted second. ... Hamels' start ended Roy Halladay's streak of 10 consecutive Opening Day outings. Halladay, who will pitch Wednesday in the middle game of the three-game series, started for the Phillies the past three years after opening seven straight seasons for the Toronto Blue Jays. ... The Braves and Phillies, who are off on Tuesday, close the season with a three-game series in Atlanta. ... The Braves had a 12-6 edge in the season series last year.
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia Phillies
- Cole Hamels
- Justin Upton