Atlanta Braves use big-hits and bullpen to defeat Phillies 5-4
By Matt Melton
The Atlanta Braves picked up their fourth win of the season on Saturday night as they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 to advance to 4-4 overall for the season, and pick up their first series win of the season.
Atlanta Braves starter Ian Anderson ran into some trouble early as he gave up two runs in a 30-pitch top of the first to give the Phillies an early 2-0 lead. The Braves quickly responded however in the bottom of the first with back-to-back doubles from Ronald Acuna Jr and Ozzie Albies, followed by a 2-run HR by Freddie Freeman to give the Braves a 3-2 lead at the end of the first inning.
Anderson settled in and retired the next 13 batters in a row before a solo HR from Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the 5th inning. Philadelphia then took the lead back in the top of the sixth when Bryce Harper scorched a line-drive HR into the Chop House giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. (Yes, the boo’s did rain down as Harper rounded the bases.)
This ended the day for Anderson as he went 5.1 innings giving up 5 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, and 6 K’s, and was replaced by left-hander Sean Newcomb who got out of the inning.
Aside from giving up the 2 HR’s to McCutchen and Harper, this was a quality start for the Atlanta Braves rookie right-hander who only walked one batter and threw 62.9% of his 89 pitches for strikes. It was encouraging to see Anderson settle in after a rough first inning, and showed improvement with his command.
The Braves quickly responded with an RBI double from Dansby Swanson in the bottom of the 6th scoring Marcell Ozuna to tie the game at 4-4.
The Atlanta Braves take the lead
The Braves re-took the lead in the bottom of the 7th when Freeman grounded back to the pitcher Jose Alvarado who had some defensive mis-communications allowing Ehire Adrianza to score from third.
The Braves kept the lead for the final two innings, and went on to win with closer Will Smith picking up his 2nd save of the season.
The Atlanta Braves received numerous notable contributions in particular from Freeman who went 1-4 with 3 RBI’s. Acuna also remained red-hot at the plate going 2-4, and extending his early season batting average to .406. The Braves bullpen also dominated the Phillies firing 3.2 innings only allowing 1 hit while striking out six.
This was an all-around team win for the Atlanta Braves who flashed not only their potent lineup, but also how good this bullpen can be. If the Braves can continue to get phenomenal production from players such as Newcomb, Adrianza, and others, this team becomes only that much tougher to beat.
The Atlanta Braves will return to the field tomorrow looking to win their fifth consecutive game as they will face the Phillies in the series finale. First pitch is set for 7:08 pm ET with Braves starter Drew Smyly set to face Phillies starter Matt Moore.