After just four and a half games, some fans in Atlanta were getting tired of BJ Upton. He started his Braves career by going 0/16, and some fans were clamoring for the return of Michael Bourn. Of course, every player has gone in a slump before, let alone one as short as 16 at bats, so the concern was a bit ridiculous. But things were much more rosy for BJ's brother Justin, who had hit three homers in his first four games as a Brave, and added a fourth in the first inning on Saturday night. In the ninth inning, with the Braves trailing 5-4 after a rally in the eighth (started by a hustle double by Justin, no less), the Uptons took over. BJ led off the ninth with a solo homer to tie the game, and two batters later, Justin hit his second homer of the night and fifth of the season to give the Braves a 6-5 win and really kick the Upton era into swing.
PIC OF THE DAY
Josh Hamilton poses for a picture with a Rangers fan, proving that not everyone in Texas hates him. (Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports).
Game of the Night: Nationals 7, Reds 6 (11 innings). This was a wild and crazy game, and it's a near-miracle that Washington escaped with a victory. The Nationals held a comfortable 5-1 lead going into the eighth afer a Jayson Werth homer in the seventh, and the finish looked academic with Washington's stellar bullpen. Only, it wasn't. Drew Storen allowed two runs in the eighth thanks to some sloppy play from Ian Desmond, and all of a sudden, it was 5-3. No big deal with closer Rafael Soriano coming in, right? Uh, not so much. Soriano started off the ninth by allowing a solo homer to Shin-Soo Choo to make it 5-4, and nearly allowed another to Joey Votto, who ended up on third with a triple. Votto scored on a Soriano wild pitch, and the game was all knotted up. After Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the tenth, Dusty Baker went with JJ Hoover (who has now worked in four of the five Reds games this year), and he promptly allowed a pair of solo homers to Desmond and Wilson Ramos in the 11th. In the bottom of the inning against Craig Stammen, Brandon Phillips doubled in Votto to make it 7-6, but died at second after Stammen struck out Jay Bruce to end the game.
Pitching Lines of the Night: Clayton Kershaw had his way with a punchless Pirates offense in a 1-0 Dodgers win, allowing just two hits in seven innings, walking one and striking out nine. Alex Cobb's first start of the year with the Rays was great in their 6-0 win over Cleveland, as he threw 7 1/3 shutout innings, giving up four hits and three walks while tallying six strikeouts. JA Happ allowed just one hit over 5 1/3 scoreless innings in Toronto's 5-0 win over Boston, walking three and striking out six, but John Lackey's injury was the bigger story.
Hitting Lines of the Night: The aforementioned Justin Upton went 3/5 with a double, two homers, and three runs scored for the Braves in their comeback win over the Cubs. Albert Pujols had a great day for the Angels in their 8-4 win over Texas, going 2/2 with two homers, three walks, and three RBI. Wilson Ramos was grear for Washington in their win, going 2/4 with three RBI, two homers, and a walk, while Jayson Werth went 3/5 with two runs, a double, and a homer. Michael Cuddyer powered the Rockies to a 6-3 win over the Padres, going 3/4 with a homer and four RBI. Miguel Cabrera went a perfect 4/4 at the plate in Detroit's 8-4 win over the Yankees, with a double, two runs, a walk, and an RBI. The Diamondbacks romped the Brewers 9-2, and Paul Goldschmidt went 2/5 with three runs, two RBI, a double, and a homer.
Other Games: The Phillies used a bizarre one hit, three run ninth inning rally to beat the Royals 4-3. The White Sox held off the Mariners and beat Felix Hernandez's squad 4-3. The Mets beat the Marlins 7-3, with an odd interference call snuffing a Marlins rally in the seventh. The Cardinals ruined the Giants MVP celebration for Buster Posey with a 6-3 win. The Twins beat the Orioles 6-5 thanks to an unearned run in the ninth caused by an error by Chris Davis (who only drove in one run…the slacker). The A's made Bartolo Colon a winner in his return to the hill thanks to a 6-3 win over Houston, though Colon didn't pitch nearly as well as Dan Straily, who was demoted after his start on Friday.
What You Missed: Nothing really, I touched on all the major bullet points already.
Today's Games: James Shields and Cole Hamels duel in the rubber match in Philly. CC Sabathia takes on Justin Verlander in Detroit. Jeff Samardzija might strike out at least a dozen as his Cubs take on Tim Hudson and the Braves. Jon Lester takes on RA Dickey in Toronto. Stephen Strasburg and Johnny Cueto will do battle in Cincinnati. Jose Fernandez makes his major league debut at Citi Field. Justin Masterson will take on David Price in Tampa. Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo will duel in Milwaukee. Chris Sale toes the rubber for the White Sox, hosting the Mariners. Adam Wainwright takes on Matt Cain in San Francisco. Brett Anderson starts for the A's in Houston. Hyun-Jin Ryu and the Dodgers host the Pirates and their punchless offense. Jered Weaver takes on Yu Darvish in Texas.
National TV: Yankees-Tigers is at 1:05 PM on TBS, and Angels-Rangers is at 8:05 PM on ESPN2 (thanks to ESPN airing the womens Final Four tonight).
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.