PHILADELPHIA -- The Braves used five home runs, including a grand slam by Dan Uggla in the top of the ninth off reliever Jake Diekman, to power past the Phillies in a 9-6 win at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.
Uggla and Evan Gattis both homered twice and Andrelton Simmons hit another to account for all nine Atlanta runs.
The outburst overshadowed a stellar effort by Ervin Santana, who tied a career high with 11 strikeouts in six innings, during which he allowed just one run.
Down, 6-5, after some Phillies heroics in the eighth, the Braves rallied in the ninth against Diekman, in for the save since closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable after working three straight games. A walk to B.J. Upton proved ominous, and when Upton beat the throw to second on a fielder's choice by Freddie Freeman, a walk to Justin Upton loaded the bases for Gattis.
Gattis, who already had a pair of home runs, struck out. Uggla had other ideas, and his grand slam -- his second home run in as many at-bats, for the 12th multihomer game of his career -- put the Braves up, 9-6.
With the Braves holding a four-run lead, Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the Phillies' eighth with a walk offLuis Avilan. Consecutive singles by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley loaded the bases. After Ryan Howard struck out, a single by Marlon Byrd scored two runs, then Domonic Brown -- who had gone 155 plate appearances without a home run dating back to last season -- deposited his first homer of 2014 into the right-field stands.
The Braves gained that four-run lead largely on a burst of power that resulted in three consecutive home runs in the eighth by Gattis -- who homered twice for the second time in his career, with the first time also against the Phillies -- Uggla and Simmons.
Even without scoring over the first five innings, the Braves did their job at the plate, making Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez work for every out he registered. Hernandez crossed the 100-pitch plateau in the sixth without any movement in the Phillies' bullpen. Because of a huge workload over the past four games, several members of the Phillies' relief corps were unavailable, and Hernandez looked close to being done.
With one out and one on, Gattis sent a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands to give the Braves a one-run lead. The homer, Gattis' second of the season, was all Atlanta could score in the frame, as Hernandez finished the inning with 118 pitches.
Through his six innings, the only hiccup for Santana -- who 12 times in his career has recorded double-digit strikeouts -- came in the second inning, a 0-1 fastball left up to Howard, who connected on a line-drive homer for a one-run lead. With that lone exception, Santana -- who signed with the Braves on March 12 -- dominated.
The Braves had several chances through the first three innings, but each time, Hernandez worked his way out of difficulty.
It appeared Atlanta had the game won when they added three runs in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead into the ninth. However, Luis Avilan could not do the job and the Phils scored five runs to take a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the inning. That set the stage for the come-from-behind win, highlighted by Uggla's bases clearing shot. Ironically, Avilan was the winning pitcher.
Rain is expected in Philadelphia Tuesday. David Hale is scheduled to pitch for the Braves, and Cliff Lee gets the start for the Phillies.
Evan Gattis hit two home runs for the Braves.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt