Final: Philadelphia Phillies 13, Atlanta Braves 8
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Looking at the box score through the first eight innings of tonight's game between the Atlanta Braves (11-7) and the Philadelphia Phillies (5-6), it seemed like an easy 13-1 win for the Phils. However, a prolonged and painful top of the ninth made it a much closer game than it had any right to be. Phillies starter Aaron Nola was stellar. Over eight innings, the righty allowed one run on two hits, walked one batter and struck out ten. This was Nola's fourteenth time reaching double-digit strikeouts, and his second consecutive start with ten or more strikeouts. More importantly, this was Nola's first win since August 20, 2019.
It seemed like Nola coming out for the ninth inning was a given, as he had thrown only 89 pitches and was not laboring during his outing. However, Phillies skipper Joe Girardi opted to take out his ace and give his bullpen a chance to create some good momentum. Right-hander Nick Pivetta was the manager's first choice out of the 'pen and to say that he struggled would be putting it kindly. Pivetta allowed six runs on six hits and only recorded one out. He was removed in favor of Trevor Kelley. He allowed one run to score, as well as the runner he inherited from Pivetta, on a home-run. Kelley was able to get the final two outs to secure the victory, but this was still another prime example of the bullpen being unreliable.
The bats came out swinging in support of Nola. The Phillies hit four home-runs in the first two innings alone. Bryce Harper hit an impressive shot into the Braves' bullpen that gave the Phils an early lead in the game. Didi Gregorius' grand slam was the main force behind the Phillies scoring seven runs in the second inning. J.T. Realmuto, Roman Quinn and Jean Segura also homered in the game. Every player in the starting line-up, aside from Jay Bruce, got at least one hit. It was encouraging to see players hitting the ball where it was pitched and taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the Braves.
WP: Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.79 ERA) ❖ LP: Sean Newcomb (0-2, 3.86 ERA)
The Phillies took an early lead in the game. Designated hitter Phil Gosselin got things started with a single to lead off the bottom of the first. Rhys Hoskins followed with a single to right field and Gosselin was able to go from first to third on the hit. This brought Bryce Harper to the plate. He proceeded to hit a three-run homer into the Braves' bullpen. The next two batters were retired in order. Jean Segura then walked to put a runner on base for Jay Bruce. However, he flied out to end the inning and the Phils were forced to settle for a 3-0 lead.
The Braves got a run back in the second inning. With one out, Travis d'Arnaud homered to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Fortunately, Phillies starter Aaron Nola was able to retire the next two batters on a groundout and a strikeout, respectively, to limit the damage.
The Phils added to their lead in the bottom of the second. After Scott Kingery was retired on a groundout, Roman Quinn hit a solo homer to left field. Gosselin followed the homer with his second single of the game. Hoskins walked to put runners on first and second with one out for Harper. He was hit on the hand by a pitch to load the bases. J.T. Realmuto singled to left field to score Gosselin from third. Hoskins and Harper moved up to third and second, respectively. The Braves opted to make a pitching change, opting to remove starter Sean Newcomb in favor of Robbie Erlin. The Braves reliever was greeted by Didi Gregorius, who proceeded to hit a grand slam to right field. Segura followed with a home-run of his own to make it a 10-1 ballgame. Bruce and Kingery were both retired to end the inning, but the Phillies' bats had put the game out of reach for their opponents.
The Phillies continued to add to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. Harper led off the inning with a single. Realmuto followed with a homer to left-center field to make it a 12-1 ballgame. The next three hitters were retired on strikeouts, but the damage had already been done.
The Phils tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth. Kingery led off the inning with a single. Quinn doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Gosselin then walked to load the bases. Hoskins and Harper were retired on a pop out and a strikeout, respectively, and it seemed like the Phillies may squander the opportunity. However, thanks to a fielding error by Braves third baseman Austin Riley on a ball hit by Realmuto, the Phillies were able to add to their overwhelming lead. Unfortunately, this was the only run they were able to score, as Gregorius struck out to end the inning and the three runners on base were stranded.
The Braves made a last-ditch effort to come back in the ninth inning. The Phillies opted to go to the bullpen for the final inning, despite Nola having only 89 pitches. Nick Pivetta entered the game and chaos ensued. Johan Camargo led off the inning with a solo homer to right field. Ender Inciarte and Adeiny Hechavarria hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second for Charlie Culberson. He doubled to left field, scoring Inciarte and moving Hechavarria up to third base. Marcel Ozuna followed with a sacrifice fly to score Hechavarria. Culberson advanced to third on the out. d'Arnaud followed with a double down the right field line to score Culberson. Nick Markakis hit the 500th double of his career and added yet another run to the Braves' tally. The Phillies went to the 'pen again, this time bringing in Trevor Kelley. He struck out Adam Duvall for the second out. Markakis advanced to third base on a wild pitch by Kelley. He ended up scoring on a two-run home-run by Riley. Camargo was retired on a groundout to end the game, but the Braves scored seven runs off of the Phillies' bullpen in the ninth inning. Even though the Phillies won the game, the ninth inning was immensely painful to watch and put a sour taste in the mouth of everyone.
- Travis d'Arnaud: 2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, .400 AVG
- Austin Riley: 2-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, .167 AVG
- Johan Camargo: 1-4, R, HR, RBI, .182 AVG
- Didi Gregorius: 1-4, R, HR, 4 RBI, .263 AVG
- Bryce Harper: 2-3, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, .303 AVG
- J.T. Realmuto: 2-5, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI, .306 AVG
- Robbie Erlin (2nd, 3rd, 4th): 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 3 HR, 9.00 ERA
- Grant Dayton (5th, 6th): 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO, 2.16 ERA
- Shane Greene (7th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 0.00 ERA
- A.J. Minter (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 1.35 ERA
- Nick Pivetta (9th): 0.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 1 HR, 15.88 ERA
- Trevor Kelley (9th): 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 10.80 ERA
- Tuesday, August 11, 2020: vs. Baltimore Orioles, 7:05 p.m.
- Philadelphia - Citizens Bank Park
- RHP Alex Cobb (1-1, 2.51 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.08 ERA)
- TV: NBCSP+; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP, WTTM 1680