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(Friday, May 17th)
Final Score: Atlanta 8, Los Angeles 5
Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Justin Upton's been used to strolling around the bases by himself this season.
On Friday, his teammates joined and jogged along with him.
Upton smacked a no-doubt, go-ahead grand slam in the sixth inning that lifted the Atlanta Braves to an 8-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a three-game set.
Eleven of Upton's 14 homers this year have come via the solo variety. He also added an RBI groundout.
"We came out and battled. We were behind a couple times but we were able to keep the bats going. Our relievers kept them off the board. When I hit the grand slam, it gave everybody a lift," Upton said.
Jason Heyward, who had been sidelined since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on April 22 in Denver, returned to the Braves' lineup and tallied two hits, two runs scored and an RBI for Atlanta, which had dropped five of its previous six contests.
The 23-year-old Heyward came into the tilt hitting just .121 with two home runs and five RBI in 17 games.
Paul Maholm (5-4) surrendered four runs -- two earned -- on eight hits and a walk in six innings, while Craig Kimbrel notched his 12th save after working around a leadoff single in the ninth.
Scott Van Slyke smacked a pair of solo shots for the Dodgers, who had won four of their last five games coming in.
Atlanta trailed 4-2 before going ahead in the sixth. Pinch-hitter Jordan Schafer hit a one-out single against Matt Guerrier and Andrelton Simmons reached on Luis Cruz's fielding error at third. Paco Rodriguez (0-2) replaced Guerrier on the mound and walked Heyward to load the bags.
Upton stepped up next and smashed a 1-1 fastball over the heart of the plate deep into the seats in left center to give Atlanta a 6-4 advantage.
"I left the ball over the middle of the plate and he hit it out," Rodriguez said.
The Braves added a pair of two-out runs in the seventh. Ramiro Pena cracked a triple into right center and scored when Carl Crawford misplayed Simmons' sinking liner to left. Simmons advanced to second on the play and was pushed across by Heyward, who lined a base hit to left to make it 8-4.
Van Slyke drilled a one-out solo homer to left center in the eighth to cut the gap to 8-5.
Earlier, LA struck first on Dee Gordon's RBI groundout in the second, but Atlanta countered for two runs in the third on Upton's run-scoring groundout and Freddie Freeman's RBI single to give the home team a 2-1 advantage.
The Dodgers answered in the fourth when Hyun-Jin Ryu and Crawford hit back-to- back RBI singles and Van Slyke's leadoff shot in the sixth gave LA its two-run margin heading into the home half.
To create a roster spot for Heyward, the club placed reliever Jordan Walden on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation ... The Braves were 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position ... The Dodgers' starter Ryu allowed two runs on five hits and five walks over five frames.
05/18 01:23:08 ET
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