ATLANTA — Christian Bethancourt paid close attention to the Braves' hitting woes, even when he was with Triple-A Gwinnett.
One day after his recall from the minors, the rookie catcher played a big role in helping the Braves break out of their slump.
Bethancourt had three hits in his return to the major leagues, including a fifth-inning single that drove in the go-ahead run in Atlanta's 7-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
"When you're at Triple-A, you're still watching the big guys playing," Bethancourt said. "You follow the numbers, and you're watching every single game. You know the next day, the next hour, you're probably with the big league team and you have to be aware of what's going on."
B.J. Upton hit a two-run homer in a three-run second as the Braves ended a 25-inning scoreless streak.
"That was a big step," Bethancourt said. "We were able to score a lot of runs after two shutouts in a row. That's a good step for the team."
Atlanta began the day 1 1/2 games behind Milwaukee for the NL's second wild card.
Ervin Santana (14-7) won despite allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings. Craig Kimbrel pitched around a leadoff walk to Cesar Hernandez in the ninth for his major league-leading 42nd save in 46 chances.
Grady Sizemore hit a two-run homer in the third that tied the score 3-3, and Ben Revere had three hits for his fourth straight multihit game.
Atlanta, shut out in three of its previous four games, fell behind on Chase Utley's first-inning sacrifice fly but took a 3-1 lead in the second behind Upton's 10th homer and first since Aug. 8. The Braves had scored one run in their previous 36 innings. All three runs were unearned because of an error by Utley, who allowed Ryan Doumit's leadoff grounder to bounce off his glove for an error.
Bethancourt, recalled following a six-week demotion, drove in the Braves' first run with an infield single in the second and put Atlanta ahead 5-4 with an RBI single in the fifth.
Bethancourt's status as a top prospect is based largely on his work behind the plate, but he showed offensive potential by hitting .283 with eight homers and 48 RBIs at Gwinnett.
"There's no question in my mind that defensively this kid is ready to play in the major leagues," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Offensively, he's going to hit and like every young player. When they see enough of him, he's going to have to make some adjustments."
Freddie Freeman led off the fifth with a double off Mario Hollands (2-2). Freeman initially was ruled out stretching at second on left fielder Domonic Brown's throw to Utley, but Jordan Baker's call was reversed on video review. Bethancourt then singled against Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a Cuban who signed last year and who was making his major league debut.