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Braves boost winning streak to eight

The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- Stymied for a time by rookie pitcher Ethan Martin, the Atlanta Braves enjoyed another big inning on Friday night en route to another victory.

Brian McCann and National League batting leader Chris Johnson hit back-to-back homers in a five-run fifth inning as the Braves extended their winning streak to eight games with a 6-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

It was the fifth straight game in which Atlanta has scored at least five runs in an inning. They are averaging nine runs per game in that span and seven runs a game during their winning streak.

"This is what everybody envisioned our offense being like," said winning pitcher Kris Medlen (8-10), who won his second straight game.

Johnson said, "I think it's just a product of us grinding out at-bats -- taking one at-bat at a time and everybody trying not to make that last out."

Johnson, a .347 hitterwho went 2-for-4, extended his hitting streak to 11 games. It was also his eighth straight multi-hit game, the longest such streak by a Brave since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966. It also equaled the longest multi-hit streak in franchise history, dating to 1921.

McCann, whose homer was his 16th of the season, also had two hits, as did Jason Heyward. In all, the NL East leaders pounded out 10 hits.

Darin Ruf, Delmon Young and Chase Utley homered for the Phillies, who have lost three straight and 11 of their last 12.

Medlen allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out eight and walked one in beating the Phillies for the first time in three decisions this season.

David Carpenter and Jordan Walden each worked a perfect inning in relief, with Carpenter striking out side and Walden fanning two.

Craig Kimbrel then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 32nd save, striking out two.

The ninth inning also saw Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and shortstop Jimmy Rollins ejected for arguing that Young foul-tipped a ball as opposed to swinging and missing for strike three.

Phillies hitters ended up striking out 15 times, a season high.

Martin (0-1), making his major league debut for Philadelphia, limited the Braves to one run and four hits in the first four innings while striking out six. But he was hit hard in the fifth and was charged with six runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings, including the homers by McCann and Johnson.

Martin, a native Georgian who grew up a Braves fan, admitted he was "pretty nervous" at the beginning, but he managed to get his bearings.

"It's been my dream my whole life," he said. "I was thinking, 'Wow, this is the team I grew up watching.' ... Early on, I made some good pitches, but I didn't make pitches in the fifth. I left some balls over the plate. I tried to mix it up, go in and out. But I messed up."

Ruf and Young hit back-to-back homers in the second, staking the Phillies to a 2-0 lead.

The Braves countered with Heyward's RBI single in the third and then exploded in the fifth, taking a 6-2 lead and knocking Martin out of the game.

McCann and Johnson hit their back-to-back homers in the inning, with McCann's a two-run blast. Justin Upton contributed an RBI single and Joey Terdoslavich drove in a run with a double.

Utley's homer, a solo shot to center that stood up after a replay review, came in the sixth. So too did a run-scoring groundout by rookie third baseman Cody Asche, his first major league RBI.

But Atlanta pitchers retired the last 11 Phillies hitters they faced, eight by strikeout.

NOTES: The Phillies hit back-to-back homers in a game for the eighth time this season and the Braves did it for the seventh time. ... McCann has now hit 20 career homers against Philadelphia, equaling the most he has hit against any club. ... The Phillies announced that LHP John Lannan will start Saturday against Atlanta and LHP Cliff Lee will start Sunday. Lee missed his start last Saturday in Detroit with a stiff neck. ... The Phillies placed RHP Jonathan Pettibone on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, designated RHP J.C. Ramirez for assignment and selected the contract of RHP Zach Miner from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... RHP Curt Schilling was inducted into the Phillies' Wall of Fame before the game. ... Braves OF B.J. Upton, out since July 13 with a right adductor strain, began an injury rehab assignment by going 3-for-4 on Wednesday at Triple-A Gwinnett. ... Atlanta C Gerald Laird, who last played July 25, underwent a procedure on Wednesday to remove a kidney stone.

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