Justin Upton was 3-for-3 with two homers and six RBIs Monday as the Atlanta Braves withstood a shaky outing by starter Kris Medlen in a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. In a 2-for-22 slide before getting two hits Saturday against the New York Yankees, Justin Upton has gone 5 for 5 with a walk in his last six plate appearances.
“It’s spring training and you’re just trying to get your timing right, but it’s always nice to get some results,” said Upton, hitting .292 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 18 games.
Freddie Freeman and Juan Francisco also homered for the Braves, who scored six times in the first inning and finished with 19 hits. Francisco and Tyler Pastornicky each had three hits.
“They were in the home-run trot today,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Do we play them anymore before the season starts? Friday? That’s good. Maybe they can home run us to death and they won’t hit any during the season.”
The teams open at Atlanta on April 1 in what figures to be the regular-season debut together of the Uptons, the Braves’ big offseason acquisitions.
B.J. Upton is batting. 396 with a homer and eight RBIs.
“I’m getting more comfortable in the box with the more reps I get,” Justin Upton said. “Hopefully, you keep that routine through the year, stay healthy and grind out a season.”
Upton hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Rodrigo Lopez, connected for a three-run shot in the third against Colton Murray and had a RBI single in the fifth off Antonio Bastardo. He also drew a second-inning walk.
“Saturday I started to feel OK,” Upton said. “It’s starting to come along.”
Philadelphia had 17 hits, including 14 off Medlen.
He allowed five runs in the second inning and four in the fifth as his ERA jumped from 2.63 to 6.27.
“I’ve never had an outing like that in my life,” said Medlen, who was 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA after joining the Braves’ rotation last year.
Yuniesky Betancourt had four hits for the Phillies and Domonic Brown had three, including a home run.
“I’m not making any excuses,” Medlen said. “When I threw it, they hit it.”
Freeman’s homer bounced off the glove of left fielder Darin Ruff.
NOTES: The teams combined for four errors as well as 36 hits. ... Braves closer Craig Kimbrel made his first appearance since returning from the World Baseball Classic and struck out one in a hitless sixth inning. ... LHP Cliff Lee pitched six scoreless innings for the Phillies in a minor league game at Clearwater rather than make the trip to face the Braves. He allowed four hits, walked none and struck out nine, throwing 80 pitches. ... SS Jimmy Rollins, back from the WBC, was 0 for 1 in that game with a walk and a run. ... Braves reliever Jordan Walden, sidelined by a bulging disk in his back for more than three weeks, threw batting practice for a second time on Monday and is slated to pitch Wednesday against Pittsburgh. His only major league exhibition appearance was Feb. 23.