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Braves win on ninth-inning homers from Uptons

Apr 6, 2013, 11:06 PM EDT

B.J. Upton, Justin Upton Getty Images

Not only did B.J. and Justin Upton homer as teammates for the first time Saturday, but they did it in style, launching solo homers in the bottom of the ninth as the Braves came back to beat the Cubs 6-5.

The Cubs were up 5-1 when the Braves rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth against closer-in-waiting Kyuji Fujikawa. That left Carlos Marmol with no margin for error in the ninth, and the implosion followed quickly. B.J.’s homer led off the inning. Marmol rebounded to retire Jason Heyward, but then Justin Upton hit his second homer of the game to finish it.

For Justin Upton, it was his fifth homer in five games as a Brave and the second walkoff shot of his career. B.J. had been hitless in 14 at-bats this season before going 2-for-4 tonight. B.J. was making his debut in the leadoff spot because of an injury to Andrelton Simmons; he had previously been hitting fifth in the lineup.

Thanks to the Uptons, the Braves overcame a disappointing season debut from Julio Teheran. The 22-year-old had a remarkable spring, amassing a 1.04 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 26 innings, but he gave up five runs in five innings tonight.

As for the Cubs, they’ll again face questions about how they’ll handle the ninth. While this was Marmol’s first blown save and loss, he’s been awful in all three of his appearances to date. Fujikawa was looking good until tonight, but since he now has an 11.57 ERA, the Cubs might choose to go to a closer-by-committee that also includes James Russell.

  1. 13arod - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    it felt similar to when the both hit there 100th homerun on the same day and were seconds from each other hopefully bj snapped out of his cold streak and turn it into a hot streak

  2. icanspeel - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Who needs grit? Justin Upton has to be already making Arizona miss him.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:29 PM

      No way. Look at that picture. His uniform is hardly dirty! He clearly doesn’t play the game the right way.

  3. tfbuckfutter - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    That’s funny…

    I recall the recent blurb about how frequently they homer on the same day.

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      “Digging a little further into the numbers, this is the 13th time the brothers have homered on the same day. In fact, both hit their 99th career home runs on July 20, setting the stage for Friday’s milestones. Also, back on May 4, 2011, the Uptons both hit game-winning home runs on the same night, which further cements the crazy symmetry of their careers up to this point.”

      Freaky.

  4. Walk - Apr 6, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    That game was fun, Cubs won the first seven innings but the up and up part of up up and a j sealed it. Anyone else notice Teheran struggling with his fastball? I am not sure what he was trying to throw that was in the high 80’s, the announcers thought it was some kind of sinker, kinda looked like a 2 seamer to me but his four seamer was good I think. Looked like he was hitting his location with it and I saw it register 94. His breaking pitch though was moving big time but it was flat, I really hope he was just nervous for his first start of the year. As much as I was looking forward to him pitch I kinda think gilmartin or jr graham may get a call soon if he does not straighten it out. Yes I know it was the first game of the year but he had opportunities last year as well.

    • elpendejo59 - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:25 AM

      It was his 2 seamer and it was biting through the first couple innings. He threw one on the first pitch of the game and it was nasty. As the game went on he was progressively leaving the 2 seamer and the 4 seamer higher and higher and that is when the Cubs started teeing off on him. His breaking stuff, as you said, was good but not great last night. All in all, I think he got a little fatigued due to opening day jitters and that is why after 60 or so pitches, the fastballs started to elevate. I may be wrong as to the cause, but here is hoping that it is nothing serious. I am pretty confident he will rebound.

  5. joerymi - Apr 7, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that the D’backs dealt Upton. I am guess that he will be top 3 in NL MVP voting. Not because of one game, but because he is a 25 year old budding star.

  6. xmatt0926x - Apr 7, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    I’m not sure what the bigger story is, the Uptons hitting back to back homers to walk off or the fact that the Cubs insist on running Marmol out there year after year. Can someone explain to a non-cubs fan why they refuse to try anyone else? The only time I hear anything about the Cubs on the highlights is when they are talking about yet another blowup. The rest of the team has to be shaking their heads every time they run him out there.

    • tfbuckfutter - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:59 AM

      Theo Epstein tried a closer-by-committee model in 2003 with the Red Sox. It failed horribly because the committee consisted of terrible players.

      However, Theo doesn’t acknowledge that the majority of the players he has acquired in his career are mediocre or worse. Therefore the CONCEPT was to blame, not the horrible bullpen he assembled.

      • sleepyirv - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:33 AM

        The Boston fans blamed the concept. Rather vocally. It would have been idiotic for Epstein to blame either himself or the players unless he wanted to get fired or anger the team.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Red Sox were pretty successful after that so I’m confused by the tone of your post.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 7, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      Because the Cubs don’t really need a closer, Hoyer would love to be able to flip Proven Closer Carlos Marmol at the deadline to a contender. A good way to do that is to get him a bunch of saves to make him look legit, even if he has a giant fork in his back. Sadly, the plan is not working. On the bright side, it may keep some GM from offering anything for Proven Closer Carlos Marmol come July.

  7. nbjays - Apr 7, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    I watched the game on TV and felt bad for Carlos Villanueva… he pitched a hell of a game and left with a 5-1 lead, only to have the bullpen cough it up.

    Nice to see BJ get out of his slump — he was 0-for-14 coming into the game, but his brother is showing him up big time…leading the majors in bombs right now.

  8. Kevin S. - Apr 7, 2013 at 8:29 AM

    The Uptons waited until the ninth inning to win the game? If they weren’t so lazy, they’d have won it in the seventh. #narrative

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      Maybe they were “playing to the scoreboard”.

    • rkln - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:09 AM

      Game was won by Pena in the eighth.

  9. officialgame - Apr 7, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Can someone explain to me how the Diamonbacks trade a player like Justin Upton? And couldn’t wait to do so?? It makes no sense to let a 25 year old talent like that go??? Perplexed.

    • ditto65 - Apr 7, 2013 at 9:37 AM

      #perplexed

    • chill1184 - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      Well apparently to Towers, Upton lacked that winning substance called grit.

  10. paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Ignore the lasting effects of wrist injuries at your own peril, it seems that it often takes over a year for full strength to return and for players to get their swing/power back….and Upton played through a wrist injury all last year (just as D. Brown did last year).

    • Kevin S. - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      You mean after Teixeira slugs .370 this year, the Yanks shouldn’t eat 2/3 of his remaining contract to send him away this offseason?

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        Correct.

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

        …and yes, I know that was sarcasm.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 7, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        Honestly, given how severe his wrist injury sounds, I wouldn’t mind if they just buried him on the 60-day DL for most of the year. He’s not really going to be able to contribute once he comes back, so might as well let that sucker really heal up (on MLB’s dime, no less).

      • paperlions - Apr 7, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        Yep.

  11. rkln - Apr 7, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Why activate DeWitt for two weeks instead of Mejia. Its all about the green fees.

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