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Uggla's grand slam caps five-homer night for Braves

Santana ties career high with 11 strikeouts in series opener

PHILADELPHIA -- In the end, the Braves simply had more power than the Phillies, even if that wasn't clear until the final out of a wild affair at Citizens Bank Park.

The Braves used five home runs, including a grand slam by Dan Uggla in the top of the ninth off reliever Jake Diekman, to power past the Phillies in a 9-6 win on Monday night.

"No, we didn't," manager Fredi Gonzalez said when asked if his squad had the game the whole way. "That almost seemed like two different games. [Ervin] Santana pitches [a great] game and ties his career high in strikeouts, and the next thing you know, in the next two innings, 12 runs are scored."

Uggla and Evan Gattis homered twice and Andrelton Simmons hit another to account for all nine Atlanta runs. The outburst overshadowed a stellar effort by Santana, who fanned 11 in six innings, during which he allowed just one run.

"It's a great feeling," said Uggla, who has three grand slams in his career but none bigger than Monday's. "To finally get a homer this season, to hit a grand slam to go ahead in the ninth, it's a great feeling."

Down, 6-5, after some Phillies heroics in the eighth, the Braves rallied in the ninth against Diekman, in for the save since closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable after working three straight games. A walk to B.J. Upton proved ominous, and when Upton beat the throw to second on a fielder's choice by Freddie Freeman, a walk to Justin Upton loaded the bases for Gattis, who struck out.

Uggla had other ideas, and his grand slam -- his second home run in as many at-bats, for the 19th multihomer game of his career -- put the Braves up, 9-6.

"You hope he doesn't throw a strike or leaves something up," said Uggla, whose last grand slam came on June 11, 2008, against Phillies reliever Tom Gordon. "[Diekman] has such great stuff. He throws so hard, you go up and try to get your foot down and get the barrel on it. It was a slider. He threw a fastball first pitch, and I thought, 'This is going to be difficult.' Luckily, I got enough of it."

With the Braves holding a four-run lead, Tony Gwynn Jr. led off the Phillies' eighth with a walk off Luis Avilan. Consecutive singles by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley loaded the bases. After Ryan Howard struck out, a single by Marlon Byrd scored two runs, then Domonic Brown -- who had gone 154 plate appearances without a home run dating back to last season -- deposited his first homer of 2014 into the right-field stands.

"Avi was the perfect man in the eighth inning," Gonzalez said. "He was there to face all of those left-handers, and he walks the first guy. Then all of a sudden, the big boys come in, and they made him pay for it."

The Braves had gained their four-run lead largely on a burst of power that resulted in three consecutive home runs in the eighth by Gattis -- who homered twice for the second time in his career, with the first time also against the Phillies -- Uggla and Simmons.

Even without scoring over the first five innings, the Braves did their job at the plate, making Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez work for every out he registered. Hernandez crossed the 100-pitch plateau in the sixth without any movement in the Phillies' bullpen. Because of a huge workload over the past four games, several members of the Phillies' relief corps were unavailable, and Hernandez looked close to being done.

With one out and one on, Gattis sent a 2-2 pitch into the left-field stands to give the Braves a one-run lead. The homer, Gattis' second of the season, was all Atlanta could score in the frame, as Hernandez finished the inning with 118 pitches.

Through his six innings, the only hiccup for Santana -- who 12 times in his career has recorded double-digit strikeouts -- came in the second inning, a 0-1 fastball left up to Howard, who connected on a line-drive homer for a one-run lead.

With that lone exception, Santana -- who signed with the Braves on March 12 -- dominated. But at a park like Citizens Bank, that's not always enough.

"You know, this is a resilient squad," Gonzalez said. "We've seen it enough. This is my eighth year going into this managing stuff, and if you say it's a one-run game here, this is not a forgiving park. Mistakes lead to crooked numbers. I'm sure they were in a situation where they didn't want to run Papelbon four days in a row. For all those people that say anybody can close the ninth inning, it's a little different animal."

Mike Radano is a contributor to
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