Upton’s grand slam lifts Braves past Dodgers
BRAVES 8, DODGERS 5
By CHARLES ODUM
ATLANTA — Justin Upton gave Atlanta the lead with a sixth-inning grand slam, and the Braves finally unveiled their full-strength lineup, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 on Friday night.
Upton drove in five runs hitting behind Jason Heyward, who had two hits with a RBI in his first game back after having his appendix removed April 22.
It was the first time this season the Braves had Heyward in the lineup along with catcher Brian McCann, who missed the first 30 games while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.
Scott Van Slyke hit two homers for the Dodgers, who led 4-2 before Upton’s third career grand slam. Los Angeles had won four of its previous five games coming in – the team’s best stretch since early April.
Paul Maholm (5-4) allowed eight hits and four runs – two earned – in six innings, and Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 12th save.
Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu overcame a career-high five walks to give up only two runs in five innings, but relievers Matt Guerrier and Poco Rodriguez (0-2) quickly blew the 4-2 lead in the sixth.
After Guerrier gave up a single to pinch-hitter Jordan Schafer, third baseman Luis Cruz couldn’t handle Andrelton Simmons’ sharp liner, an error that left runners on first and second. Rodriguez walked Heyward to load the bases before Upton’s homer deep into the left-field seats.
Los Angeles left fielder Carl Crawford missed Simmons’ line drive for another error during Atlanta’s two-run seventh. Ramiro Pena, who hit a two-out triple, scored on the error and Heyward added a run-scoring single off Ronald Belisario.
Ryu failed to last at least six innings for the first time in nine starts. He gave up five hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
A.J. Ellis doubled and scored on Dee Gordon’s fielder’s choice grounder for the Dodgers in the second. Crawford and Ryu had run-scoring singles in the fourth.
Ryu had strong defensive support in the fifth. Van Slyke, making his first start of the season in right field, had a sliding catch of Chris Johnson’s fly ball near the foul line. Matt Kemp then made a diving grab of McCann’s fly ball in the left-center gap.
Slumping Braves center fielder B.J. Upton hit eighth for the first time this season. He drew scattered boos when he popped out to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez in the second inning and an even louder serenade when his bases-loaded popup to Punto at second base ended the third inning.
B.J. Upton was 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .141.
Kemp, who grounded out to end the game, was 0-for-5, ending his 14-game hitting streak, which began on April 30.
NOTES: Braves Hall of Famer Hank Aaron attended batting practice. ... Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, watched the game from their usual seats near the Braves dugout. ... Dodgers INF Jerry Hairston Jr., on the 15-day DL with a left groin strain, was examined by a doctor in Arizona on Friday for a sore left knee. Manager Don Mattingly called the problem “a little bit of a setback.” ... RHP Jordan Walden was placed on the 15-day DL with right shoulder inflammation to clear a spot for Heyward. ... Braves RHP Kris Medlen and Dodgers LHP Chris Capuano each will look for his second win as the series continues on Saturday night. Medlen is only 1-5 but has a 3.44 ERA.