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)