Final Score: Braves 8, Phillies 1
The Philadelphia Phillies offense disappeared on Friday night as they fell to the Atlanta Braves for the first time in 2021. The Phillies fall to 5-2 on the season, and are 1 1/2 games up on the New York Mets for first place in the NL East
Starter Zack Wheeler, who was great in his first game of the season, was unable to make it through five innings. Ronald Acuña Jr. led the way for Atlanta, who scored just three runs in last weekend’s series but exploded for eight on Friday.
Saturday’s game between the two teams will feature Zach Eflin and Ian Anderson, who faced each other in last Sunday’s Phillies win.
- The Braves got baserunners against Zack Wheeler in the first in inning via back-to-back walks for Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna, but J.T. Realmuto picked off Freeman to end the threat.
- The next time up for each team was quiet, and the Phillies struck in the top of the third. After Jean Segura reached on an infield hit and Wheeler moved him over on an infield dribbler. Andrew McCutchen drove Segura home on a single to right field to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
- After threatening throughout the early innings, the Braves finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Morton led off the inning with a single down the first base line, and Acuña Jr. hit a mammoth home run to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.
- The Braves weren’t done there. Ozzie Albies doubled down the first base line, and scored on an RBI single from Travis d’Arnaud that gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead.
- This was followed with a rather strange sequence of events that ultimately ended with Joe Girardi having to remove Zack Wheeler from the game, as the Phillies manager visited the mound twice in the inning. Brandon Kintzler retired Dansby Swanson to end the inning.
- The Phillies threatened in the top of the sixth against Morton. Aftter retiring Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins with two quick outs, Bryce Harper walked and reached third on a single. Alec Bohm proceeded to hit the ball hard to the warning track in right field, but Acuña Jr. made a great play to catch it and end the inning.
- Atlanta pulled ahead in the fifth, but the dagger came in the sixth against Kintzler. After Austin Riley and Cristian Pache both reached on throwing errors by Bohm at third, pinch hitter Ehire Adrianza hit a three-run home run to right field to give the Braves a 6-1 lead.
- Freddie Freeman, who had been hitless so far against Phillies pitching coming into the night, hit a two-run home run off David Hale in the bottom of the eighth to expand Atlanta’s lead to 8-2.
- Luke Jackson pitched the ninth inning, and ended the game on a double play off the bat of Jean Segura.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Zack Wheeler: 4 2/3 IP, 7 H 3 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 94 pitches
After pitching brilliantly in his first outing, Wheeler just wasn’t sharp on Friday. He was hurt by some close pitches not being called his way early, but damage was done against him once he started leaving pitches over the plate. The pairing of Wheeler and ace Aaron Nola is thought to be one of the Phillies’ greatest strengths, but they both failed to make it out of the fifth inning in their most recent starts.
Charlie Morton: 6 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 7 K, 83 pitches
Morton pitched well against the Phillies last weekend until things unraveled in the fifth inning. The right-hander stayed strong throughout his outing Friday, allowing the lone run on the bloop by McCutchen in the third inning.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Ronald Acuña Jr.
Acuña Jr. is one of the best young players in the sport, and he showed it everywhere on Friday. The 23-year-old went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, and made a run-saving catch when the game was close. He did not hit well in the opening series against the Phillies, but appears to be catching fire now.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, April 10 vs. Atlanta Braves
- Truist Park
- 7:20 pm ET
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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