3/16/2013 7:28 P.M. ET
Phelps fans six over five innings vs. Braves
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Juan Francisco hit his latest towering home run, and Paul Maholm extended his recent mound mastery while helping the Braves claim a 4-0 win over a split-squad Yankees team at Champion Stadium on Saturday night.
The Braves produced some cushion with a three-run fifth inning that was highlighted by Francisco's home run that hit just to the right of a video image of his face on the center-field scoreboard. While impressive, the two-run shot off David Phelps did not travel as far as the home run Francisco sent over the yellow wall beyond the right-center-field fence in Friday's loss to the Mets.
Phelps limited the Braves to one run and five hits before issuing Jason Heyward a two-out walk in the fifth inning. Heyward stole second base and scored when Justin Upton followed with an RBI single that capped his first two-hit game since Feb. 25. Upton entered the game with just two hits in his previous 21 at-bats.
Francisco followed Upton's single to center with his no-doubt home run. The powerful infielder's team-high-tying four homers have aided him in his battle against Chris Johnson to begin the season as Atlanta's starting third baseman.
Maholm allowed two hits and issued just one walk over six scoreless innings. The veteran left-hander has worked 14 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since allowing the Phillies five runs in 2 2/3 innings on Feb. 28.
Phelps allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out six over his five innings.
Reed Johnson opened the bottom of the third inning with a double and scored the game's first run on Heyward's two-out single to center. Heyward had recorded just three hits in his previous 27 at-bats.
Up next: Ivan Nova, who is locked in a battle with Phelps for the fifth spot in the starting rotation, will make his fourth start of the spring on Sunday against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET. Nova, who ranks second among Yankees pitchers with 16 road wins over the last two seasons, has an 0-0 record with a 1.00 ERA through nine innings this spring.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.