Final: Braves 8, Phillies 5
ATLANTA — Aaron Nola wasn't ready to leave.
The Phillies' young star right-hander was dealing in the sixth inning. He'd already recorded one out in the frame, and had yet to allow a run.
He'd thrown just 68 pitches when new manager Gabe Kapler strolled out to the mound, demanding the ball. Nola gave it up.
By the eighth inning, the Phils' bullpen had given it up as well. A 5-0 Phillies lead pretty quickly turned into a 5-5 tie game. Then, in the ninth, the Braves' Nick Markakis walked it off with a three-run home run, completing a streak of eight uncontested Atlanta runs.
WP: Arodys Vizcaíno (1-0, 0.00 ERA) ❖ LP: Héctor Neris (0-1, 40.50 ERA)
Rhys Hoskins is hardly known for anything but immense power, but the young outfielder showed that he is capable of more. He pulled an RBI double inside the right-field line in the first inning to plate the game's first run. In the sixth, Hoskins stole second off of Teherán. He led off the eighth with a double to left.
Nola was so dominant on Thursday that the first hit against him was a bunt single. Ryan Flaherty, who spent the spring in camp with the Phillies on a non-roster invitation, pushed a ball right down the third-base line in the third inning to reach base.
The Braves only had three baserunners against Nola: a first-inning walk to Freddie Freeman, Flaherty's bunt hit and a line-drive single in the fourth from Kurt Suzuki.
For the second straight Opening Day, César Hernández roped a home run on a 3-2 count. Last year's blast in Cincinnati led off the game; this season's led off the sixth inning.
Later in the frame, reliever Rex Brothers inherited two baserunners from Teherán and proceeded to walk J. P. Crawford and Maikel Franco to force in a run. Dan Winkler came into the game for Brothers and promptly ceded a two-run single to Andrew Knapp.
With Freeman at the plate, new manager Gabe Kapler chose to pull Nola with one out in the sixth. The right-hander had given up a double to Ender Inciarte to lead off the inning. Nola threw just 68 pitches, but Kapler wanted to try out his nine-man bullpen.
Lefty Hoby Milner, who replaced Nola, didn't pay dividends for Kapler. He gave up a no-doubt two-run shot to Freeman, retired Nick Markakis, and was removed from the game.
Luis García did a nice job when he replaced Milner, getting the final out of the sixth and the first two of the seventh. Kapler called on Adam Morgan for the final out of the seventh — the lefty delivered, getting Inciarte to ground out.
Morgan, though, allowed a solo shot to Ozzie Albies to lead off the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Edubray Ramos took over.
Freeman and Nick Markakis got on, Ramos uncorked a wild pitch, Andrew Knapp misfired on the throw to third, and the Braves cut the lead to one. Atlanta promptly tied it on Preston Tucker's RBI single.
Then the Braves won it in the ninth. Charlie Culberson reached on a swinging bunt, Freeman was given an intentional free pass, and Markakis lifted a ball into the seats in right-center to end the game.
Kapler's decision to pull Nola in the sixth loomed large as the bullpen combined to allow seven runs in less than four innings. But the manager hardly expected his relievers to implode to such a degree. Regardless of the cause, the loss is an ugly one for the Phillies. If the team wants to contend in 2018, it will be expected to win games like Thursday's.
Friday night's game will feature young right-hander Nick Pivetta for the Phillies and righty Mike Foltynewicz for the Braves. First pitch will be at 7:35 p.m.
- César Hernández: 2-5, R, HR, RBI, .400 AVG
- Rhys Hoskins: 2-3, 2 2B, HBP, R, RBI, SB, .667 AVG
- Andrew Knapp: 1-3, 2 RBI, BB, .333 AVG
- Freddie Freeman: 1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, .500 AVG
- Ozzie Albies: 1-5, RBI, .200 AVG
- Nick Markakis: 1-5, R, HR, 3 RBI, .200 AVG
- Hoby Milner (6th): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 27.00 ERA
- Luis García (6th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Adam Morgan (7th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 27.00 ERA
- Edubray Ramos (8th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Héctor Neris (9th): 0.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 40.50 ERA
- Rex Brothers (6th): 0.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, -.-- ERA
- Dan Winkler (6th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Peter Moylan (7th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Sam Freeman (8th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Arodys Vizcaíno (9th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Friday, March 30, 2018: at Atlanta Braves, 7:35 p.m.
- SunTrust Park
- RHP Nick Pivetta (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
- TV: NBC Sports Philly Plus; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP