Braves rally, nip Phillies for 8th straight win

Braves third baseman Chris Johnson celebrates his 8th straight multi-hit game Friday night in a 6-4 win against the Phillies.

Braves third baseman Chris Johnson celebrates his 8th straight multi-hit game Friday night in a 6-4 win against the Phillies.

ATLANTA --- Chris Johnson homered and tied a franchise record with his eighth consecutive multi-hit game, lifting visiting Atlanta to its eighth straight victory, 6-4, against the Phillies on Friday night.

Johnson finished 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and raise his National League-leading batting average to .347 as the first-place Braves extended their advantage to 12 games over Washington in the NL-East.. Brian McCann homered for the third time in four games, and Kris Medlen (8-10) struck out eight while allowing four runs on six hits in six innings.

Philadelphia starter Ethan Martin (0-1) surrendered six runs on eight hits with six strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings in his major-league debut. Delmon Young finished 3-for-4 with a solo homer, and Chase Utley and Darin Ruf added solo shots as the Phillies lost for the 11th time in their past 12 contests.

Ruf and Young homered in the second to put the Phillies ahead 2-0, but Jason Heyward singled home a run in the third for the Braves. Atlanta surged ahead with a five-run fifth, highlighted by back-to-back homers by McCann (a two-run shot) and Johnson (solo homer).

Philadelphia pulled within 6-4 in the sixth on Utley's homer and Cody Asche's groundout. But David Carpenter and Jordan Walden each fired a scoreless inning of relief, and Craig Kimbrel struck out two in the ninth for his 32nd save.

NOTEBOOK: Atlanta has posted an inning with five or more runs in five consecutive games. ... Johnson is the first Braves player with eight consecutive multi-hit games since Hank Aaron did it in 1959 for the Milwaukee Braves. ... Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel was ejected for arguing a tipped third strike call in the ninth.

B. Upton’s second rehab assignment huge success

ATLANTA — B.J. Upton doubled in each of his first two at-bats while going 3-for-4 on Thursday night in the second of three scheduled games in Triple-A Gwinnett as he nears completion of his minor league rehabilitation assignment. He doubled in his first at-bat against Charlotte, drove in two runs with a double in his second, singled in his third and scored three runs in all. He played six innings in center field.

The reports were already good from Wednesday night, manager Fredi Gonzalez said, after Upton went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and played six innings in center field against Charlotte.

"For the first time in two weeks facing live pitching, the at-bats were good," Gonzalez said. "He'll go again (Thursday and Friday) and we'll check with him and see if he needs a couple more days, more at-bats, before we bring him up here."

Entering Thursday, the Braves had gone 10-5 in 15 games since Upton went on the DL, and their lineup has been clicking to the tune of 29 runs in the first three games of the Rockies series. Gonzalez was asked if that kind of production complicates his decision on whether and where to play Upton when he returns.

Upton has hit .177 on the season, and while showing signs of breaking out at times, was hitting .176 (6-for-34) for the month when he strained his adductor (groin) muscle on July 12 against the Reds.

"No," Gonzalez said. "The No. 1 thing for us is to make sure he's healthy and make sure he's ready to come back. That's the No. 1 thing and when all those things are in place then we'll figure something out. Something will happen, you know how that is."

Jordan Schafer is expected to join Gwinnett on Saturday to begin his own minor league rehabilitation assignment. The speedy backup outfielder has been out since June 26, with the exception of a couple of pinch-hit at-bats, because of a stress fracture in his right ankle. He wasn't showing any ill effects as he raced around the bases during batting practice Thursday.

"It felt really good," Schafer said afterward.

Laird recovering: After waiting three days to wait for a kidney stone to pass to no avail, veteran backup catcher Gerald Laird had a procedure done to remove it Wednesday afternoon, Gonzalez said. Laird needs at least a few more days to recover and will not accompany the team to Philadelphia. With two other catchers on the roster in Brian McCann and Evan Gattis, the Braves have been able to cover his absence without putting Laird on the disabled list.