ATLANTA — B.J. Upton led off the ninth inning with a homer and his brother Justin followed one out later with another long ball that helped the Atlanta Braves rally past embattled Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for a 6-5 victory Saturday night.
Justin Upton went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. He also homered in the first and now has five homers in Atlanta’s first five games.
The Braves rallied from a 5-1 deficit with three runs in the eighth off Kyuji Fukijawa and two in the ninth off Marmol.
Justin Upton’s solo shot in the first inning made it 1-all. He followed with leadoff double in the eighth and scored the first of three Atlanta runs that cut the lead to 5-4.
Marmol’s blown save, his second in three chances this week, wasted what would have been a victory for starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva.
The Cubs had taken a 5-1 lead on Nate Schierholtz’s RBI single, Anthony Rizzo’s two-run homer, Luis Valbuena’s solo shot and Wellington Castillo’s RBI single, but Chicago left the bases loaded against Anthony Varvaro and Cory Gearrin in the eighth.
Eric O’Flaherty (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth despite allowing a hit and walk.
Marmol (0-1) gave up two hits, both solo homers, in one-third of an inning. His ERA ballooned to 27.00.
The Upton brothers, major offseason acquisitions for Atlanta, became the 25th tandem of brothers to homer in the same major league game and the first since Adam and Andy LaRoche accomplished the feat for Pittsburgh on June 17, 2009.
Making his first start since signing with the Cubs as a free agent in the offseason, Villanueva gave up six hits, one run and two walks in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out six.
Rizzo was 1 for 14 when his second homer of the season gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead. Schierholtz followed with a double and scored from second on Castillo’s single to make it 5-1.
Villanueva began the game with a 12-18 and a 5.33 ERA in 44 career starts with Milwaukee and Toronto, but the right-hander settled down after Upton’s solo shot made it 1-all in the first.
B.J. Upton’s two-out infield single ended Villanueva’s night as Cubs manager Dale Sveum brought in left-hander James Russell, who retired Heyward on a flyout.
Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran allowed eight hits, five runs and one walk with two strikeouts in five innings. The 22-year-old right-hander dropped to 1-2 with a 5.79 ERA in five career starts. He was facing the Cubs for the first time.
Teheran, who earned the fifth spot in Atlanta’s rotation with a strong spring training, trailed 1-0 in the first after David DeJesus led off with a double and scored on Schierholtz’s RBI single.
Justin Upton crushed a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning to make it 1-all.
Valbuena’s first homer put the Cubs up 2-1 in the fourth.
After the Cubs’ three-run fifth, Teheran left for a pinch-hitter.
Chicago loaded the bases in the eighth off Varvaro, but earned nothing for the effort. After second baseman Uggla threw to catcher Gerald Laird for a forceout, reliever Gearrin retired Starlin Castro on a flyout and struck out Rizzo.
NOTES: The teams combined for 25 hits. ... Braves SS Andrelton Simmons was out of the lineup with a sprained left thumb. ... B.J. Upton batted in Simmons’ leadoff spot. ... Pena took Simmons’ spot in the field and went 1 for 4 with two RBIs as the No. 8 hitter. ... Teheran had his first career hit with a single in the third.