Uptons lead Braves with homers, outfield assists

Brothers become first to accomplish feat to support sharp Harang

Uptons lead Braves with homers, outfield assists

PHILADELPHIA -- It is safe to say the Braves have not received near what they expected since they united the Upton brothers before the start of the 2013 season. But on the eve of what might prove to be the last day they spend together as teammates, the siblings provided a glimpse of why there was hope they would be a dynamic duo.

As Aaron Harang completed his impressive rebound season with a stellar effort in Saturday night's 4-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, B.J. Upton and Justin Upton shared a piece of history. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they became the first brothers in the modern era to both homer and record an outfield assist in the same game.

"Those guys are so talented on both sides of the ball," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "They can hurt you offensively and make some nice defensive plays. They're very athletic. To do what they did today is something special."

Once Craig Kimbrel escaped a bases-loaded jam to notch his 46th save, the Braves were able to savor something even more unique than this win, just their sixth in 24 games this month. The lively postgame clubhouse chatter was centered around Justin, who drilled a decisive two-run homer off A.J. Burnett in the seventh inning, and B.J., who began the third inning with his third homer of the month.

"I'm just trying to finish strong," Upton said. "It's good that we were able to come through in those situations and, more importantly, get the win."

The Uptons have homered in the same game as teammates six times -- an extension of a Major League record for brothers that they had set earlier this year. But this significance of this latest occurrence was made even more special because they both also cut down a runner at the plate.

Justin got things started on the defensive end when he fielded Ryan Howard's fourth-inning single and fired a strike to catcher Christian Bethancourt, who applied a tag as Chase Utley slid to the plate. B.J. got into the act one inning later when he kept Andres Blanco from scoring on Ben Revere's two-out single in the fifth inning.

"Any time you can play good defense and contribute at the plate, it's a good night, and it helped us win," Justin Upton said. "So that was nice."

While this was the kind of night the Braves had envisioned, time will tell if Sunday is the last time the Uptons play together for Atlanta. The club will not be able to move the approximate $46 million he is owed over the next three years, but the Braves are expected to try to trade B.J., who has hit .198 with a .593 OPS in the 267 games he has played since signing a franchise-record five-year, $75.25 million deal.

Because he will be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2015 season, the Braves might also evaluate the value of trading Justin, who was a legit National League Most Valuable Player Award candidate before he notched just eight hits in his first 64 at-bats this month. Still, he has been very productive, collecting 100 RBIs for the first time in his career.

If they go their separate ways, this performance against the Phillies will always be something they can cherish.

"You don't really think about it," B.J. Upton said. "You just play the game. But I guess it's a pretty cool thing. It's cool to say we did that."

After allowing just two runs in 6 2/3 innings, Harang expressed his appreciation for what the Uptons provided in his final start. The veteran hurler was unemployed at the start of Spring Training and did not join the Braves until the Indians released him during the final week of March, but he finished the season with a career-best 3.57 ERA and logged 204 1/3 innings.

Maybe the most impressive thing about Harang's season was the fact that he allowed two earned runs or fewer in 22 of his 33 starts.

"It's been really gratifying," Harang said. "To think back the first day of Spring Training, I didn't even have a job with anybody. Then to make 33 starts and finish 200 innings again, that's a big accomplishment."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.