Justin Upton propels Braves past Marlins

Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

MIAMI -- Atlanta Braves pitcher Julio Teheran said catcher Brian McCann wasn't very happy in the second inning.
Fortunately for Teheran, the Braves snapped a sixth-inning tie with an unearned run and later added a solo homer by Justin Upton to defeat the Miami Marlins 6-4 Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
Teheran (7-4) allowed four runs (one earned) in 7 1/3 innings, but he made a big mistake in the second when he gave up a two-out, three-run homer to eighth-place hitter Rob Brantly.
"McCann didn't get mad directly at me," Teheran explained in Spanish. "But it also infuriated me that it was the biggest mistake I made. With the pitcher (on deck), there was no need to throw (Brantly) a strike there."
Brantly pulled Teheran's 2-1 pitch down the line in right field for his first homer of the season and the fourth of his young career. All three runs were unearned because of an error by Braves third baseman Chris Johnson.
The Braves, though, rallied from a 3-1 deficit thanks in part to Upton, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a 424-foot solo homer to left-center in the seventh. It was the 16th homer of the season for Upton, who scored three runs and drove in two.
Upton, the National League's Player of the Month in April before slumping in May and June, said he is keeping things simple.
"The changes I've made haven't been anything drastic," said Upton, who has five hits and five RBIs in the two games against the Marlins the past two nights. "It's been a lot of hard work. I'm definitely a lot closer to where I want to be."
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he has no problem being patient with Upton or any of his other big hitters.
"It's a long season," Gonzalez said. "We are always wishing for more, but there will be ups and downs. Justin is starting to swing it like he did early in the season."
The winning run was scored by Justin's brother, B.J. Upton, who singled, advanced to second on a long flyout and came home when Marlins starter Henderson Alvarez (0-1) threw wildly past first base on a bunt by Teheran.
Jordan Walden finished the eighth inning flawlessly, and Craig Kimbrel earned his 24th save of the season.
The first-place Braves improved to 3-2 on their road trip, which ends with a day game against the Marlins on Wednesday. The last-place Marlins suffered their fifth loss in a row.
The Braves opened the scoring with B.J. Upton's second-inning sacrifice fly.
Atlanta tied the score 3-3 with two runs in the third. A single by Jason Heyward, a run-scoring double by Justin Upton, a wild pitch by Alvarez and a sacrifice fly by Brian McCann did the damage.
The Marlins regained the lead, 4-3, by scoring one run in the bottom of the third. Ed Lucas hit a one-out single, advanced on a walk to Giancarlo Stanton and scored on a Morrison single.
That was all the offense the Marlins would get.
"We needed that type of outing after going 14 innings and having two or three guys in the bullpen who were unable to pitch or we didn't want them to pitch," Gonzalez. "(Teheran) did a great job. He had that good sinker. He had some changeups, and he threw some sliders."
The Braves tied the score 4-4 when McCann's fifth-inning single drove in Justin Upton, who had doubled.
Marlins manager Mike Redmond was asked what went wrong for Alvarez on the mound.
"It's hard to say -- he looked like he was throwing strikes," Redmond said of Alvarez, who threw 67 strikes in 107 pitches. "It just seemed like they jumped on him early in the count in a couple of innings, and he just wasn't able to finish the hitters.
"That's an aggressive team. They like to swing the bats. And if you make mistakes out over the plate, they're going to make you pay."
NOTES: The Braves recorded their 27th come-from-behind win, tops in the league. ... The Marlins recalled LHP Duane Below from Triple-A New Orleans in time for Tuesday's game. He took the roster spot of RHP Chris Hatcher, who lost Monday's game in relief and was demoted to the minors. ... Monday's loss meant Miami fell to 0-13 when the roof has been open at Marlins Park. The roof was closed Tuesday. ... Kimbrel, an All-Star for the third straight year, is the first pitcher in franchise history to record at least 20 saves in three straight years. ... The Braves are only the third team in history to lead a division at the 75-game mark despite being shut out 10 or more times.

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