ATLANTA -- B.J. Upton went deep for his seventh and eighth home runs of the year, and the Braves put together a two-run, ninth-inning rally capped by Freddie Freeman's walk-off single with the bases loaded to draw even in their weekend series vs. the Giants with a 6-5 win Saturday afternoon at Turner Field.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth to set up the Atlanta comeback, which began when pinch-hitter Evan Gattis worked a five-pitch walk. After falling behind 0-2 to Giants closer Sergio Romo, Andrelton Simmons hit a slow grounder to the left side that neither Joaquin Arias nor Brandon Crawford could reel in, reaching safely on the error charged to Arias.
Then Jason Heyward stepped in and singled to shallow left field, bringing up Justin Upton with the bases loaded. Upton worked the count full before taking a slider just off the inside corner that brought pinch-runner Reed Johnson home to tie the game. That set up Freeman's line-drive single into shallow right field to bring home the game-winning run.
The Braves capitalized on a busy afternoon from B.J. Upton, who broke out of an 0-for-8 slump with a towering solo home run in the second inning and struck again in the sixth for the sixth multi-homer game of his career. Atlanta starter Mike Minor was spared from his third loss of the season, and the Braves avoided their first five-game losing streak of the year.
Minor ran into trouble in the third inning after needing just 23 pitches to retire the first six batters he faced in order. Andres Torres and Tony Abreu's back-to-back RBI doubles with two outs gave the Giants their first lead, and after an intentional walk issued to Buster Posey, Hunter Pence dropped a single into shallow right field that scored Abreu from third. It was the first three-run inning Minor has been tagged with since his loss to the Tigers on April 28.
After reaching on a fielder's choice in the fourth, Upton scored Atlanta's second run after Chris Johnson's two-out single through the left side.
For all his success at the plate, Upton could not make a highlight-reel defensive play to keep the Giants from extending their lead in the fifth. After Simmons bobbled a potential double-play ball allowing both runners to reach safely, Posey smashed a 2-0 fastball from Minor to straightaway center field, where it bounced off the top of the wall for an RBI double, just out of Upton's reach as he braced for midair contact with the wall.
The Giants added one more run on a sacrifice fly by Pence to push their lead to 5-2 after five innings. Minor was lifted for a pinch-hitter one inning later, finishing with seven strikeouts against seven hits and four earned runs, the second-highest total he has allowed this year.
Aside from Upton, the Braves struggled to crack Giants starter Chad Gaudin, who made his third start of the season in place of Ryan Vogelsong. Gaudin scattered eight hits over five innings before he was chased with no outs in the sixth after Brian McCann's leadoff double set up Upton's second home run. Reliever Jean Machi temporarily preserved the San Francisco lead after Upton's second home run by getting Simmons to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat in the sixth.
--- Source: MLB.com
B.J. Upton had two home runs.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt