Braves quotes after opening win vs. Phillies

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Braves quotes after opening win vs. Phillies

** JUSTIN UPTON

On the Up-ton chants his first at-bat

“Oh yeah, I could definitely hear it. That’s an awesome feeling when you’re new to a place and the fans are behind you. It was awesome.”

On if hard not to do too much in that moment

“No before I walked up there I calmed myself down. It was pretty easy to step in there and just try to put together an at-bat.”

On coming through with homer in first game here

“It’s a great start, I’ll tell you that. Being able to contribute to the first win of the season my first game here. It’s a great feeling, hopefully we can just keep going out and playing good baseball.”

On the home-run pitch

“It was a cutter he left it kind of middle in, I was able to get the barrel to it.”

Could you have envisioned a better start?

“No. Everything kind of fell into place tonight. It was great that the guys came out swinging the bats well, I was able to contribute and we got a W at the same time. You can’t beat that night.”

The ovation when he came to the plate

“It was awesome. The fans came out and they were electric. They gave us a lot of energy tonight. It’s exciting to step on the field when you have that many people behind you.”

On playing with his brother

“We got used to it in spring training but taking the field the first time (was cool).”

On feeding off other hitters, Freeman, Uggla

“We had some opportunities early on in the game. Freddie picked me up a couple times. It just kind of rolled downhill from there. Everybody started swinging the bats pretty good. We got some knocks and were able to string some hits together.”

On Hudson

“He was good. I’ve faced him in the past. He was throwing sinkers. He was getting his groundball early. That’s what he’s going to do for us.”

**B.J. UPTON

On good to just get the first few at-bats

“Yeah, I was a little too amped up myself. Just that first game. You get crowds in spring training but actually getting out there in front of your home crowd and feeling their vibe and feeling their energy kind of got me amped up a little bit. Now that it’s out of the way, I can just relax and go play baseball.”

On that first at-bat over before you could catch your breath

“They all felt like the first one to me. Just a new feel, and excited we got a win and looking forward to many more.”

On adjusting to new park

“I like the fact that it plays pretty true. There’s no funny gaps or anything like that. I think it’s going to come a lot sooner than I thought it would.”

On being able to see what Justin did tonight, not have to look it up online

“Oh yeah. Sitting here watching it live doesn’t get any better than that. I’m used to finishing my game on the east coast and trying to catch the second half of his game but he’s here with me and that’s pretty cool to see.”

On hearing the crowd here tonight, not that he didn’t hear it in Tampa

“It’s a little different, definitely. Tampa fans are great, but this is a long line of history and a long line of fans. And they showed it tonight. It’s definitely fun to run out on the field to a crowd like that.”

On if what he’d expect from this team, homers but also pieced-together runs

“The big thing about this team is not one or two guys are going to have to do it. It can be a different guy every night, and I think we showed that tonight.”

**DAN UGGLA

“You never know what’s going to happen. You work your butt off in the offseason for four months, then you go through six weeks of spring training and it all kind of culminates in this one night.

“I just hit a fastball. It was up. It was 3-0 but I was going to go for it, and I connected.”

On the lineup

“These guys, including myself, we’re still learning. We’re still competing, to get better and cut down strikeouts. But we’ve got a lot of power, and we’re not trying to hold back. If it cost us some strikeouts in situations, then that’s what it’s going to have to take. Because we have the power to go blow-for-blow with anybody. Certain situations, small ball, getting guys over and getting guys in with less than two outs, I think that’s where the maturity of this team is really going to come through.”

On big night after rough spring and 2012

“It’s one game, though. But I feel great. I’ve had one bad year in however many years I’ve been in the league. It makes you want to work harder and really come through the next year for your teammates and the city and this organization.”

On Justin’s big ovation

“Welcome to Atlanta, baby.”

**JASON HEYWARD

On the crowd

“It was nice. Opening day was awesome. Turner Field does it right. They never fail to do it right. And as a team we played some defense, hit the ball well, had good ABs, and made the plays we needed to and the pitchers – hats off to them. And Laird behind the plate putting down fingers and blocking the ball.”

On Uggla having a big night in front of big crowd

“That’s awesome, for us first, and for him. Because you know the work people put in and you know how hard it is when this game humbles you. Just to see him come out and enjoy it and have fun with everybody, it was good for him and for us.”

On Justin’s debut, hitting third homer of night

“I’ve got to give Cole a lot of credit, but this lineup is a dangerous lineup in a sense that you have to battle at-bat after at-bat. He didn’t get away with something tonight. Our guys put some good swings on some good pitches to hit.”

On Freeman homering off a top lefty (Hamels)

“It doesn’t surprise me anytime he homers. He’s a good hitter. He works at it. He’s got special talent.”

On Jason’s own at-bats

“Good at-bats, man. Just missing some. There were some pretty good pitches I laid off of. I saw the ball well. Game 1, stayed within myself, we’ve got a lot of baseball to play.”

**FREDDIE FREEMAN

On feeding off the crowd

“There was a lot of energy. We’re a big energy team; we like to have fun, and it’s easier to have fun when you’ve got a crowd like that tonight.”

On three homers

“Hopefully this is just the beginning. We’ve got a very balanced lineup one through eight, so it’s going to be tough for pitchers to get through us.”

“Hopefully we can just keep hitting balls hard and score some runs.”

Homering on opening day

“Actually that was my first hit on an opening day. It was nice to finally get a game that counts (after spring training).”

**FREDI GONZALEZ

On Hudson and Avilan

“He (Hudson) gave us chance to win the ballgame. I thought Luis Avilan did a terrific job in that situation, getting two big outs and then going out the following inning and giving us the complete inning.”

Big outs by Avilan?

“Big outs, god-almighty.”

On winning opening night at sold-out ballpark

“Any time you got a chance to win, and it was a big crowd, over 50,000 came out to see us. Freeman had a big night, Justin the same thing…. It was a nice crowd. We got the chop going a little bit. It was a nice opening day for us.”

On Laird

“I thought Gerald did a terrific job navigating Avilan through that one inning, with those big hitters coming up. He does a nice job calling a game.”

On Uggla

“I saw some good at-bats in spring training. I know he hit .200 or right below .200 in spring training, but you look at the at-bats, the quality of at-bats, you line out to right field a couple of times, line out to shortstop and not get anything for it. But today he had some good at-bats and got something to show for it.”

On the three homers by his team

“We can do that. It was nice to see. I thought all night we had some good passes (at the plate). Heyward doesn’t get a base hit, but he has some good at-bats. Same thing with B.J. The rest of the guys swung the bats well. We had some productive outs.”

On Walden’s inning

“He was probably excited. But he only gave up one run, got some big outs against some tough left-handed hitters. Against Nix and Revere. That’s something surprising, a little bit. He also got Brown, so he got three left-handed hitters out, a right-handed pitcher.

“We had to mix and match a little bit with the way the game went, went with O’Flaherty in the seventh instead of the eight the way we’ve done in the past. But I think with only having two left-handers, we’re using Avilan earlier in the game, we might have to mess around a little bit using O’Flaherty.”

Quotes compiled by Carroll Rogers and David O’Brien

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