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Freeman, Braves open season with win over Phillies

Apr 2, 2013 - 3:22 AM Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - Freddie Freeman went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI to lead the Atlanta Braves to a 7-5 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in the season opener for both teams at Turner Field.

Justin Upton and Dan Uggla both had solo homers and Gerald Laird drove in a run for the Braves, who lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the one-game National League Wild Card round last season.

"It was a great start, I'll tell you that," said Upton, who was acquired from Arizona in a trade this past offseason. "Being able to contribute to the first win in my first game here is a great feeling. Hopefully we can keep going out and play good baseball."

Upton was dealt to Atlanta in a seven-player deal in January, joining his brother B.J. Upton, who signed with the club in November.

Luis Avilan (1-0) earned the win after allowing one hit over 1 2/3 innings of relief. Starter Tim Hudson allowed three runs on six hits over 4 1/3 frames.

Craig Kimbrel, who tied Cardinals closer Jason Motte for the NL lead in saves with 42 in 2012, picked up his first this year with a perfect ninth inning.

Chase Utley was a double shy of the cycle with a solo homer and three RBI and Ryan Howard knocked in a run for the Phillies, who missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2006.

"I worked hard this offseason to get to this point," said Utley, who hasn't played in a Phillies' season opener since 2010 because of various injuries. "I thought tonight (the Braves) swung the bats pretty well. You have to tip your cap. We had some opportunities there to tie the game, we just didn't get the big hit. We will take tomorrow off and stay ready to rock."

Cole Hamels (0-1) was shelled for five runs on seven hits, including three homers, over five innings to absorb the loss.

Freeman's two-out blast in the first inning gave the Braves an early 2-0 edge. Jason Heyward walked and Freeman crushed a 2-1 fastball deep into the right- field seats.

Uggla added a solo shot in the second and Freeman plated Andrelton Simmons with a base hit in the third to make it 4-0.

Utley got the Phillies on the board with a leadoff homer in the fourth, and drove in a pair in the fifth help the visitors pull within 4-3.

With the bases loaded in the fifth, Utley roped a base hit to right field to score Hamels and Ben Revere.

The Phillies, though, couldn't push another run across as Howard struck out and Domonic Brown grounded out to second to end the inning.

Justin Upton belted a solo homer in the fifth, and Atlanta added a pair of runs in the sixth to take a 7-3 lead.

Uggla drew a leadoff walk in the sixth and moved to third on Chris Johnson's double down the left-field line. Laird followed with a base hit to left to plate Uggla. Following a pitching change, Reed Johnson grounded into a double- play, but Johnson was able to score.

Utley tripled in the seventh and scored on Howard's ground out, and Erik Kratz's base hit in the eighth scored John Mayberry to account for the final margin.

Game Notes

Atlanta held a 12-6 edge in the season-series in 2012 ... The Braves are 22-26 in season opener's since moving to Atlanta in 1966 ... Hudson made his sixth career Opening Day start ... Utley hit his 200th career homer ... Hamels made his first start in a season opener.






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