Three eighth-inning home runs power Philadelphia Phillies to 5-2 win over Atlanta Braves
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies had lived on the edge in the first two games of its three-game series with the Atlanta Braves this weekend.
The Sunday afternoon finale would be no different.
The Phillies hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the first time since 2008 in the eighth inning to complete another comeback win and run their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 victory over the Braves before an announced 28,632 at Citizens Bank Park.
Second baseman Cesar Hernandez took a 2-1 slider from Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino into the right field seats for a two-run shot with no outs to break a 1-1 tie. Then right fielder Aaron Altherr, who had struck out in his first three at-bats, took the first pitch he saw into the bullpen to put the Phillies up 4-1.
Center fielder Odubel Herrera capped the scoring with a solo homer of his own to left-center field to make it 5-1.
The last time the Phillies hit three straight home runs in a game was June 13, 2008 at St. Louis when Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell all went deep.
Right-hander Hector Neris had some difficulty in the ninth after a walk by first baseman Freddie Freeman, a balk and a single by left fielder Matt Kemp plated the Braves’ second run of the game. Right fielder Nick Markakis followed up with a single of his own, but Neris struck out pinch-hitter Adonis Garcia.
Neris walked third baseman Jace Peterson to load the bases, but shortstop Dansby Swanson popped out to center field and pinch-hitter Tyler Flowers grounded out to shortstop to end the game.
Right-handers Zach Eflin and Mike Foltynewicz were locked in a pitcher’s duel through six innings at Citizens Bank Park on a cool afternoon with the teams able to combine for a meager three hits between them.
Atlanta broke the tie in the seventh, though. Kemp deposited a 92 mph fastball from Eflin over the out-of-town scoreboard in right field to put the visitors up 1-0.
Foltynewicz had been having his way with the Philadelphia lineup and struck out the side in the sixth, but the Phillies finally got good contact off of him in the bottom of the inning. Third baseman Maikel Franco lined out to center field to start the inning, but left fielder Daniel Nava, first baseman Brock Stassi and shortstop Freddy Galvis strung together three straight singles, the final of which from Galvis scored Nava to tie the game.
Before the seventh, Nava had provided most of Philadelphia’s offense with a pair of walks. The Phillies were hitless until Hernandez’s two-out single in the third.
Eflin, though, matched Foltynewicz. Making his second start after beginning the season on the disabled list, Eflin worked through the Braves order with relative ease. He didn’t allow a hit until second baseman Brandon Phillips’ single with one out in the fourth, and he didn’t allow a runner to reach second until the sixth, when Phillips singled again and stole second.
But no damage came from the Braves until Kemp’s blast in the seventh.
Atlanta threatened in the eighth when shortstop Dansby Swanson advanced to third after a single, sacrifice bunt and ground out, but left-hander Joely Rodriguez struck out Phillips.
The Phillies entered Sunday afternoon on their first winning streak since August and the chance to clinch their first three-game sweep since then. The win also brought the Phillies back to the .500 mark at 9-9.