Long story short: Homers win it for Braves
Gomes, Uribe go deep to provide club with much-needed power
ATLANTA -- During the offseason, the Braves front office made a conscious decision to go to a contact-oriented approach offensively, leading to a team that is last in the Majors in home runs.
But Friday night in the series opener against the Phillies at Turner Field, Atlanta powered its way to a 2-1 victory with home runs from left fielder Jonny Gomes and third baseman Juan Uribe.
"Uribe's swinging the bat, big one there," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez of Uribe's tiebreaker in the seventh inning. "Jonny Gomes against left-handed pitching, that's what Jonny's here for. He gives you a good at-bat, he gives you great effort, great energy, so good for him."
Gomes gave the Braves their first run of the night with a no-doubt shot to left field in the second inning, and said that despite his lack of at-bats recently, he was planning on being aggressive during in his first plate appearance.
"One of those trick at-bats where I haven't played in a while," Gomes said. "I might be seeing some pitches, and I just wanted to jump on him early.
"I was sitting dead-red fastball first pitch, got it. He left it up a little bit."
Gomes' homer off Phillies rookie left-hander Adam Morgan snapped a seven-game streak in which he went hitless in 11 at-bats. Entering Friday, the Braves had seen the third-fewest at-bats against left-handed pitchers in the league (536), limiting the production Gomes is able to contribute as a career .276 hitter off of lefties.
On the other hand, Uribe has been red-hot for the Braves since being traded from the Dodgers, hitting .303 in 32 games, including -- after Friday night's blast -- six home runs.
With Freddie Freeman out of the lineup with a sprained wrist, Uribe has been one of the few sources of power available to Gonzalez.
"Check that track record, he's been impressive for a long time," Gomes said. "He's well-decorated, he's a world champ, he's found success everywhere he's gone.
"He's a dangerous right-handed bat."
Gomes has proven to be a dangerous bat as well, against left-handed pitchers, and Friday night those statements about Uribe and Gomes were reinforced.
Now with 49 home runs, the Braves still have the fewest in the Majors, but they are just one homer shy of the 29th team on that list: the Phillies.
Oh, and it just so happens that Friday night the Phillies became the league-leading team in home runs allowed (92), overtaking the Brewers (91). While the Braves are unlikely to suddenly become a prodigious power threat overnight, they have a pretty good shot at getting out of the long ball basement this weekend.