SunTrust Park opened exactly one year ago, as the Atlanta Braves faced the New York Yankees in an exhibition game on March 31, 2017. The Philadelphia Phillies are 6-5 at the venue, which replaced the Braves' former home of 20 seasons, Turner Field (Thomas Cizauskas
/Flickr Creative Commons).
By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor
Having split the first two games of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) and Atlanta Braves (1-1) will face off in the opening series finale Saturday evening at SunTrust Park. Right-handers Vince Velasquez and Brandon McCarthy receive the starting nods, as both pitchers make their respective season-opening and SunTrust Park debuts.
The Phillies captured their first win of the season in a back-and-forth, 11-inning affair late Friday evening. Like Opening Day, Rhys Hoskins produced the game's first run — a home run to left. Fellow slugger Carlos Santana picked up his first RBI as a Phillie in the third with a sacrifice fly to right. A pair of ex-Phillies helped tie the game at two in the third, with a RBI double by Ryan Flaherty and sacrifice fly RBI by Ender Inciarte. Dansby Swanson lifted the Braves on top an inning later with a RBI single, however Santana and Nick Williams returned the favor in the fifth and sixth with a home run and RBI single, respectively. The game evened once again in the eighth with a Preston Tucker RBI single and would remain tied until the 11th, when Santana produced his third and game-winning RBI via another sacrifice fly — this time to former Phillie Peter Bourjos in left.
Starter Nick Pivetta allowed three runs (all earned) on five hits, two walks and three strikeouts in four innings. Eight Phillies relievers combined for seven innings, allowing just four hits, one run and three walks while striking out six. Luis Garcia suffered the blown save, while late roster addition Drew Hutchison earned the win with two shutout innings in the 10th and 11th.
Phillies No. 2 prospect Scott Kingery collected his first MLB hit on Friday on a single to center in the fourth, while making his first career start (third base). Kingery finished 2-5 with a strikeout and 17 pitches seen. Kingery will make his second MLB start on Saturday at a different position: shortstop. Jorge Alfaro will also receive his first start of the season as catcher.
The Phillies will look for the first opening series win since 2011, when they swept the then-National League-affiliated Houston Astros in a three-game home series behind Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt. Thus far in this year's opening series, the Phillies have been outscored and outhit by the Braves, 12-10 and 18-16, respectively.
Starting Pitching Matchup:
|Philadelphia Phillies (1-1)
||Atlanta Braves (1-1)
|(2017: 11-14, 4.45 ERA)
||(2017: 6-4, 3.98 ERA)