By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor
Final: Phillies 9, Braves 5 ❖ Attendance: 38,236
ATLANTA — In what could be his final start with the Philadelphia Phillies (48-58) ahead of the August 1 non-waiver trade deadline, right-hander Jeremy Hellickson earned his eighth victory of the season in opposition of the MLB-worst Atlanta Braves (36-68) Saturday evening at Turner Field.
Hellickson surrendered three runs on nine hits and a walk in five and two-thirds innings, while the Phillies offense put together nine runs on nine hits in topping Brian Snitker's Braves, 9-5. The Phillies have now won two of the first three games of the series, outscoring Atlanta 17-12.
The game's first run came via a one-out single in the top of the second by catcher Cameron Rupp, scoring first baseman Ryan Howard from second following his leadoff double.
The Phillies maintained their 1-0 lead until the bottom of the third. After striking out opposing pitcher RHP Julio Teheran to start the frame, Hellickson allowed four singles and two runs over his next five batters faced. The two RBI singles came from right fielder Nick Markakis and third baseman Adonis Garcia, their 52nd and 33rd RBIs of the season, respectively.
Hellickson would help his own cause in the top of the fifth. After Rupp singled to left, securing his 17th multi-hit game of the season, and left fielder Cody Asche singled to right, Hellickson doubled down the left field line to bring both runners home and regain the lead, 3-2. It was his first career double out of 98 plate appearances and 78 at-bats.
One inning later with the bases loaded, shortstop Freddy Galvis hit a two-RBI single to center, increasing the Phillies' lead to 5-2. The Braves added a run the next half-inning, decreasing their deficit to two runs via a RBI single by catcher Anthony Recker.
In the top of the eighth, the Phillies scored four insurance runs to grab a 9-3 lead. All four runs were scored without a single hit in the inning, with walks by pinch hitters Tyler Goeddel and Taylor Featherston, second baseman Cesar Hernandez and center fielder Odubel Herrera and a hit-by-pitch of right fielder Aaron Altherr. Herrera and Altherr's at-bats both occurred with the bases loaded, thus securing their 37th and third RBIs respectively for the season. The other two runs came home after third baseman Maikel Franco reached safely on an error by Garcia.
The Braves scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth against RHP Severino Gonzalez. RHP Jeanmar Gomez threw a scoreless ninth on 18 pitches, capturing the Phillies' 48th victory.
- Hernandez walked three times in the victory. He now has eight walks this series over 16 plate appearances.
- Galvis stole his 10th base of the season, matching his 2015 total in 48 less games.
- During the game, the Braves acquired two-time All-Star outfielder Matt Kemp and $10-12 million from the San Diego Padres in exchange for OF/3B Hector Olivera. Olivera, who is still owed $25.5 million, will reportedly be designated for assignment by San Diego, according to Bob Nightengale. Olivera is nearing completion of his 82-game suspension by Major League Baseball after being charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a woman at the team's Arlington, Virginia hotel in April. Kemp has seven seasons in his 11-year career with 20 or more home runs.
Phillies RHP Jerad Eickhoff — who has lost three consecutive decisions — will take the mound Sunday afternoon in the series finale. It will be the Phillies' fourth-to-last contest at Turner Field, a venue in which they are 82-87 all-time. Eickhoff is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 18 strikeouts over four career starts (26 IP) against the Braves. (Time: 1:35 p.m.; TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP).