Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

B.J., Justin Upton make homer history with Braves

ATLANTA — B.J. and Justin Upton never had the nerve to imagine an ending like the one they provided Saturday night, not even after they both moved to the Braves this offseason.

One brother homers to tie it in the ninth. The other homers to win it.

"We'd never dreamed of being on the same team, much less coming out here and doing that," B.J. Upton said. "It's exciting."

B.J., the former Rays centerfielder, led off the ninth with a homer and Justin followed one out later with another off Carlos Marmol that lifted Atlanta past the Cubs 6-5.

It's the first time in MLB history that brothers have hit tying and winning home runs in the same inning, according to Elias Sports.

Justin went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. He also homered in the first and went into Sunday with five homers in Atlanta's first five games.

To have mother Yvonne and father Manny Upton in town all week and at the game for the brothers' feats only made the night more special.

"Ah, man, I think right now, in my mind, it's No. 1," Justin Upton said. "It was exhilarating out there. We had a great time with it."

For B.J., the first week had been tough at the plate. He was 0-for-16 with nine strikeouts before his two-out infield single chased Cubs starter Carlos Villanueva in the seventh.

Feeling less pressure as he faced Marmol on a 3-and-1 count, B.J. crushed the fifth fastball he saw into the leftfield seats.

"I know it's there, but to get that first one out of the way, it's kind of the monkey off the back," he said. "Hopefully things will get rolling here."

In other Braves news, 1B Freddie Freeman was visibly upset that Atlanta placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique.

Freeman, who is hitting .417 with one homer and seven RBIs, said team management did not tell him before making the decision.

"They didn't even give me a choice," Freeman said. "It's my career. I should be able to make that decision."

Braves GM Frank Wren defended the move.

"Especially this early in the season, we're not going to take a chance to turn what would be two to three weeks into six or eight weeks by tearing that oblique area," Wren said.

CUBS SWAP CLOSERS: Manager Dale Sveum said RHP Carlos Marmol is out as closer, and Japanese rookie Kyuji Fujikawa will take over the role. Marmol has a 27.00 ERA in three appearances this season. Fujikawa had 219 saves and a 1.77 ERA over 12 years with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Central League.

A'S: RF Josh Reddick injured his right wrist after colliding into a wall trying to chase down a foul ball in the fifth inning. X-rays were negative, and he's listed as day to day with a sprain.

BLUE JAYS: RF Jose Bautista was held out of the starting lineup for a third straight game because of a sore right ankle.

BREWERS: LF Ryan Braun's ailing neck kept him out of the lineup for a third straight game. … SS Jean Segura left the game with a bruised left quad.

ORIOLES: LF Nolan Reimold left the game with right hamstring tightness after six innings.

RED SOX: DH David Ortiz is set to play in an extended spring training game in Fort Myers today and could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday. Ortiz has been sidelined with heel inflammation.

TWINS: RHP Cole De Vries went on the 15-day DL with a right forearm strain.

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