For one night, at least, Justin Upton and Chris Johnson made sure that Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers’ worst fears were fully realized.
Upton and Johnson, the two players Towers dealt to the Braves in January, combined for seven hits including a pair of two-run homers in a 10-1 Atlanta win at Chase Field, the first game between the teams since the seven-player trade.
Upton went 4-for-5 and hit his majors-leading 13th home run, Mike Minor (5-2) worked out of trouble to limit Arizona to one run in 6-2/3 innings, and the Braves snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 4-4 on a 10-game trip.
“Today was the Justin show,” said Johnson, who wasn’t surprised by how Upton rose to the occasion. “He’s a really, really good player. He was here for a long time. Any time you get traded, you want to come back to the place you got traded from and kind of show them what they’re missing a little bit, and I think that’s what was on his mind tonight.”
Brian McCann also drove in three runs and hit a long home run the Braves, his third in four games. But the night belonged to Upton, who was greeted with what sounded like a 50/50 split of boos and cheers at what was his home ballpark for six years, including two All-Star seasons.
“It was mixed,” said Upton, 25. “It is what it is, and I had fun with it.”
Johnson had a tie-breaking homer in the fifth inning and Upton homered in the four-run sixth, immediately after Arizona starter Wade Miley hit Upton’s brother, B.J., with a pitch.
If that wasn’t bad enough for the Diamondbacks, the Braves capitalized on a miscue by third baseman Martin Prado, the principle player Atlanta sent to Arizona in the seven-player deal, with pitcher Randall Delgado and three minor leaguers.