Final: Philadelphia Phillies 8, Atlanta Braves 6 ❖ Attendance: 44,597
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Philadelphia Phillies (2-0) came into this afternoon's game against the Atlanta Braves (0-2) still riding the high of their Opening Day victory. They built upon that momentum in today's roller-coaster win that was full of firsts. Not only did it secure the first series victory of the Phillies' 2019 season, but two of the team's most highly touted off-season acquisitions, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto, both hit their first homers in a Phillies uniform. Harper's home-run was especially rewarding, considering the mounting anticipation since he signed his record-setting contract to roam right field for the next thirteen seasons. The blast went far beyond the wall in right-center field, landing in the second deck 465 feet away from home plate. The crowd gave a rousing ovation and practically demanded a curtain call, which Harper was more than happy to give.
Phillies starter Nick Pivetta was underwhelming in his first start of the season. The righty allowed four runs on eight hits over four and 2/3 innings. Outside of David Robertson, who struggled in the ninth inning, the relief pitchers were fantastic. Adam Morgan, Juan Nicasio, José Álvarez, Pat Neshek and Seranthony Dominguez did not allow any hits and combined for only two walks. Robertson's difficulties are a bit concerning, considering that he also allowed a run during his appearance on Opening Day.
The offense exploded in support of the pitching staff. In addition to Harper and Realmuto, Maikel Franco also hit a home-run. The third baseman now has two homers in as many games and appears comfortable hitting eighth in the line-up. The team has totaled six home-runs in its first two games, which is a first for the Phillies franchise. Both Realmuto and Franco totaled three RBI on the day. César Hernández got two hits, including a triple in the fourth inning, and scored two runs. It's encouraging to see contributions up and down the batting order. The team will need to continue this pattern through the season if they want to be successful.
WP: Adam Morgan (1-0, 0.00 ERA) ❖ LP: Wes Parsons (0-1, 10.80 ERA)
The Braves came out swinging against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta. Center fielder Ender Inciarte led off the game with a triple to center field. One out later, Freddie Freeman singled to center, scoring Inciarte and giving the Braves a 1-0 lead. Ronald Acuña Jr. grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The Braves extended their lead in the second. With two outs, Tyler Flowers singled to left field. Dansby Swanson followed with a two-run shot to left field to make it a 3-0 ballgame. Pivetta was able to strike out pitcher Bryse Wilson for the final out, but the damage had already been done.
The Phils got a run back in the bottom half of the second. Rhys Hoskins led off the inning with a double off the top of the wall in left field. J.T. Realmuto followed with a single to center field that scored Hoskins and put the Phillies on the board. During the at-bat of Odubel Herrera, Realmuto was caught trying to steal second for the first out of the inning. Herrera walked to bring second baseman César Hernández to the plate. He grounded into a force out and replaced Herrera on first. This brought Maikel Franco to the plate with two outs. Hernández stole second base during his at-bat, which led to the Braves opting to intentionally walk Franco and instead face Pivetta. The Phillies starter struck out looking for the third out of the inning and two runners were stranded.
The Phillies took the lead in the fourth inning. Herrera got it started with a walk. Hernández followed with a triple into the right field corner, scoring Herrera from first base. Franco hit a two-run homer off of the left field foul pole to give the Phils a 4-3 lead. It was his second homer in as many games. This marked the end of Wilson's day, as the Braves opted to bring in reliever Wes Parsons. He retired Pivetta and Andrew McCutchen on a groundout and a strikeout, respectively, to end the frame.
The Phils didn't hold the lead for long. Inciarte led off the top of the fifth with a walk. He stole second on a strikeout by Josh Donaldson. Freeman singled against the shift to score Inciarte and tie the game. Acuña lined out to right field for the second out of the inning. Pivetta was taken out in favor of reliever Adam Morgan, who retired Braves' right fielder Nick Markakis on a groundout to keep the game tied at four runs apiece.
The Phillies took back the lead in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs, Hoskins walked to bring Realmuto to the plate. He proceeded to blast his first home-run in a Phillies uniform to make it a 6-4 ballgame. After the home-run, the Braves made a pitching change, bringing in lefty reliever Jonny Venters. He retired Herrera on a groundout for the final out of the inning.
The Phils tacked on a run in the seventh inning. With two outs, Bryce Harper got his highly anticipated first hit in a Phillies uniform and it didn't disappoint. Harper hit a second-deck bomb into the right-center field seats to give the Phils a 7-4 lead. The crowd's roar seemed almost deafening and Harper came out of the dugout after to give a curtain call. The Braves made a pitching change after the homer, and reliever Chad Sobotka struck out Hoskins to end the inning.
The Phillies added on to their lead in unconventional fashion in the eighth. With two outs in the inning, the Braves replaced Sobotka on the mound with Josh Tomlin. Hernández singled to center off of the reliever. Franco followed with a pop-up single into shallow right field that went in and out of the glove of a sliding Freeman. Hernández, who was running on contact, scored from first base on the play. Pinch-hitter Nick Williams grounded out to finish the frame.
The Braves weren't going down without a fight. Swanson led off the top of the ninth with a walk. Pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson then hit a two-run homer to left field to make it a 8-6 ballgame. Phils reliever David Robertson retired the next two batters before Freeman got his second double, and fourth hit overall, of the game. However, Freeman was ultimately stranded, as Acuña flied out to right field to end the game.
- Freddie Freeman: 4-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, .625 AVG
- Dansby Swanson: 1-3, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI, .333 AVG
- Charlie Culberson: 1-1, R, HR, 2 RBI, 1.000 AVG
- J.T. Realmuto: 2-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, .286 AVG
- Maikel Franco: 2-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, .500 AVG
- Bryce Harper: 1-3, R, HR, RBI, .167 AVG
- Wes Parsons (4th, 5th): 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 10.80 ERA
- Jonny Venters (5th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Jesse Biddle (6th, 7th): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 5.40 ERA
- Chad Sobotka (7th, 8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Josh Tomlin (8th): 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 27.00 ERA
- Adam Morgan (5th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Juan Nicasio (6th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- José Álvarez (7th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Pat Neshek (7th): 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- Seranthony Dominguez (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- David Robertson (9th): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 13.50 ERA
- Sunday, March 31, 2019: vs. Atlanta Braves, 7:05 p.m.
- Philadelphia - Citizens Bank Park
- RHP Kyle Wright (2018: 0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (2018: 10-11, 3.96 ERA)
- TV: ESPN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680