Turner Field was soggy from an entire game's worth of rain, but that didn't stop the Atlanta Braves from shelling Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies in a 9-2 win. Even better, Evan Gattis homered in his much awaited Major League debut.
Already up 3-0, Gattis started the fourth inning with a solo homer that just squeaked over the left field wall off Halladay on a 1-1 count. The solo shot is the culmination of a years-long journey that saw Gattis out of baseball for four years before being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round in 2010.
"There’s no (words) to explain it," Gattis told ajc.com. "I’m glad I got that one out of the way. Couldn’t have planned it. Just excited. Happy. Little emotional after the game. I got the lineup and my home-run ball back. It’s just too cool. It just feels more real.”
The Braves had already started tormenting Halladay with a three-run first inning when Justin Upton hit his second homer in as many games as a Brave and Juan Francisco tallied an RBI-single. That fourth inning turned into another big frame as well. After Gattis' home run, Freddie Freeman hit a three-run double off Raul Valdes, who had come in to replace Halladay.
"They're going to torture pitchers," Paul Maholm told braves.com after being supported by a seven-run outburst. "They're going to have their nights when they won't. But I'll take this lineup over any other."
Halladay, looking like a shell of his former self, was chased after just 3 1/3 innings and five runs. He threw 95 pitches, though he did curiously strikeout nine Braves, and the Braves fanned a whopping 16 times overall.
“We scored 16 strikeouts and scored nine runs," Fredi Gonzalez said. "That’s just the way it is sometimes. I’m glad we’re getting those home runs with people on base and putting some crooked numbers up.”
Maholm was solid his season debut, throwing 5 2/3 innings while striking out six and allowing no runs. He even ended the fifth inning by striking out Chase Utley looking on a 58 mile-per-hour eephus-like curveball that drew an argument from Utley with the umpire.
"Chase isn't the ideal guy to throw it to," Maholm said. "But I figured I'd thrown him pretty much everything I had. It was a seven-run lead with two outs and two strikes. So go ahead and break it out. I threw it in the right spot. So it was good."