Uggla's 9th-inning grand slam gives Braves wild win over Phils
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - After coughing up a four-run lead in the eighth inning, Dan Uggla's grand slam in the ninth put Atlanta back on top and gave the Braves a 9-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of a four-game set from Citizens Bank Park.
It was a pitchers' duel early on, with Atlanta taking a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning. Ervin Santana matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts in six frames for the Braves, yielding just a run on four hits while his counterpart Roberto Hernandez surrendered two runs in six innings of work for the Phils.
B.J. Rosenberg took the hill for Philly in the top of the eighth and gave up three straight solo home runs to Evan Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons for a 5-1 margin.
The lead quickly disappeared in the home half. Luis Avilan (3-1) walked leadoff man Tony Gwynn Jr. and gave up singles to Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley to load the bags. After striking out Ryan Howard, Marlon Byrd poked a two-run single to right. Domonic Brown followed with a three-run home run to right field, giving the Phils the lead.
"You don't see Avilan give up runs very much at all, much less four, so that was very rare. We wanted to get his back since he's picked us up so much," Uggla said.
With closer Jonathan Papelbon unavailable, Jake Diekman (1-1) got the nod in the ninth but was unable to secure his first career save. Diekman walked a pair and Freddie Freeman reached on a fielder's choice. Gattis, who had two home runs for the game, struck out swinging to set up Uggla's heroics.
David Carpenter shut the door for his second career save and first with the Braves.
"It was nice to see the comeback. The guys battled, had good at-bats, put a five spot up there and answered what they did," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "Just weren't able to close the door in the ninth."
Howard gave the Phillies an early 1-0 edge when he took the second pitch he saw from Santana -- a fastball left up in the zone -- out over the fence in right-center field to put the Phillies up 1-0 in the second inning. The homer put Howard in a tie for 121st all-time with Reggie Smith.
The margin held until the sixth, when Gattis' two-run opposite field blast to right gave the visitors a 2-1 advantage.
The Braves hit 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position prior to Uggla's slam ... Justin Upton, who was 11-for-14 with eight runs and four homers in his last four games, went 0-for-4 ... The Braves have won four straight ... Philadelphia fell to 3-4 on its current 10-game homestand ... Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his eighth inning single. The last Phillie to begin a season with a hitting streak of 11-or-more games was Don Demeter, who hit safely in each of his first 12 games in 1963.
04/15 02:19:40 ET