Gattis Goes Big Fly In Debut; Upton, Heyward Homer For Braves In 9-2 Win Over Phillies

Daniel Shirey

Atlanta's home run barrage continued with three more jacks to support a strong outing by Paul Maholm.

El Oso Blanco has arrived.

In his major-league debut, Evan Gattis homered off Roy Halladay as part of a four-run fourth inning. Justin Upton hit his second home run in as many games and Jason Heyward hit his first of the year as part of Atlanta's rain-soaked 9-2 win over the Phillies.

Like Freddie Freeman on Opening Day, Justin Upton smacked a two-run homer in the first inning, a wall-scraper to right-center unlike the bomb he hit in the opener. Juan Francisco added an RBI single in the inning for an early 3-0 lead.

Braves starter Paul Maholm pitched out of the stretch for much of his 5.2 innings, but made pitches when he needed to such as getting a double play with two on and no outs in the second inning. His only perfect inning was the fifth, ending it with a 58-mph curveball to strike out Chase Utley.

Speaking of strikeouts, there were a lot of them, especially for Braves hitters. The first eight outs Halladay recorded were strikeouts, seven of them swinging, and the offense finished with 16 total.

Leading off the fourth inning with Atlanta still up 3-0, Evan Gattis stepped to the plate and, with his family in attendance, launched the third pitch he saw from Halladay just out of the reach of Domonic Brown for his first major-league home run. Two batters later, Halladay was through, but the offense wasn't. With Andrelton Simmons already on first, Heyward and Justin Upton drew walks against Raul Valdes to load the bases, but they weren't on base long. Freddie Freeman cleared the bases with a double to left, giving Atlanta a 7-0 lead.

Maholm departed the game with two outs in the sixth inning, allowing six hits but striking out six.

Both Phillies runs scored in the seventh on Chase Utley's double to right off Cristhian Martinez, who had allowed three two-strike hits in the inning. The Phillies were denied a third run when one out later, Michael Young hit a slow grounder right in front of the plate. Luis Avilan fielded and threw to first, but the throw hit Young and Utley slid across the plate. The run was denied, however, when Young was called out for running inside the baseline. Jason Heyward restored the seven-run lead with a two-run homer off Jonathan Papelbon in the eighth.

Anthony Varvaro threw two scoreless innings to finish the game.

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