Three Homers Lead Braves To Opening Day Victory Over Phillies

Kevin C. Cox

Justin Upton homered in his Braves debut and Freddie Freeman had three of Atlanta's 10 hits in a 7-5 win.

A packed house of 51,000 fans saw the Braves hit three home runs in holding off the Phillies on Opening Day at Turner Field by a final score of 7-5.

Freddie Freeman led the charge with three hits and three RBI including a two-run homer in the first inning off starter Cole Hamels. Dan Uggla led off the second inning with a home run of his own to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead for Tim Hudson. Freeman's RBI single in the third inning scoring Andrelton Simmons upped the lead to 4-0.

That was more than enough, it seemed, for Hudson, but the Phillies were able to stay close thanks to Chase Utley. The Phillies second baseman led off the fourth inning with a home run to center and singled with the bases loaded in the fifth to cut Atlanta's lead to one. Hudson struggled to complete the fifth, throwing 24 pitches, but gave way to Luis Avilan who quelled the threat.

For those who were waiting for an Upton blast, they weren't disappointed. With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Justin Upton smashed a Hamels fastball deep into the seats in left-center for his first home run as a Brave. Last year, Hamels had given up just two home runs in 24 innings against the Braves, but gave up three in five innings.

Hamels gave way to Chad Durbin for the sixth inning, and Atlanta's offense greeted him rudely after Uggla walked leading off the frame. Chris Johnson doubled, followed by Gerald Laird dropping a soft single to left to score Uggla. New reliever Jeremy Horst coaxed a double play out of pinch-hitter Reed Johnson, but Chris Johnson crossed the plate with Atlanta's seventh run of the game.

Chase Utley tripled and scored the Phillies' fourth run of the game in the seventh. Jordan Walden's debut in the eighth inning was a bit shaky: he threw two wild pitches and gave up Erik Kratz's RBI single, but recovered to strike out Ben Revere to end the inning.

Craig Kimbrel nailed down the victory for his first save of the season. Luis Avilan was credited with the win.

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