Final Score: Braves 6, Phillies 1
A win over the Braves in the series rubber match would have been massive for the Phillies. Massive because the Braves figure to be one of the frontrunners for the NL East title again this year. Massive because it would have set the tone for the Phillies’ current nine-game road trip. Massive because it would have removed some of the sting of Saturday night’s heartbreaking 12-inning loss.
But alas, the Phillies will have to wait at least two more days to win a three-game road series for the first time since 2019, as the Braves came out on top with a 6-1 victory to take the three-game set.
The first pitch of the ballgame was exponentially more fun for Phillies fans than the final 258. Andrew McCutchen gave them a lead right off the bat, but a disastrous first inning from Aaron Nola coughed it up and then some, and the Phillies could never muster a comeback threat.
The Phillies fall to 5-11 away from Citizens Bank Park on the year and 18-17 overall.
- McCutchen seemed intent on shifting the momentum from last night’s debacle as quickly as possible, and he did — momentarily (more on that later). McCutchen cranked the ballgame’s first pitch into the first row in left-center field, his fifth big fly of the season and his second straight leadoff homer on Sunday Night Baseball.
- But for their part, the Braves were intent on shifting it right back, and shift it they did. Ronald Acuña Jr., somehow back in the lineup the day after exiting from a Sam Coonrod hit by pitch, got the party started with a walk and a stolen base. Freddie Freeman then singled him in and took second when Odúbel Herrera airmailed the cutoff man. Freeman easily came home on an Ozzie Albies triple two batters later.
- The Braves weren’t done yet, as following an Austin Riley strikeout, Dansby Swanson deposited a curveball from Nola into the left field seats to put the Braves up 4-1 and make things go from bad to worse for the Phillies.
- The Phillies had a chance to chip away in the third when McCutchen walked and Jean Segura picked up yet another knock to set the table for the heart of the lineup. But Bryce Harper — who hasn’t looked comfortable since coming off the injured list Friday — and J.T. Realmuto struck out before Alec Bohm grounded out less than a foot in front of home plate to end the inning.
- It seems all Freeman needed to get going was a series against the Phillies. Freeman was 1 for his last 31 before his sixth-inning homer Saturday, and he’s 4-for-5 with two homers since — including this solo shot against Nola in the third:
- Tyler Matzek made a play in the seventh that wasn’t crucial toward the game’s outcome but was indicative of the way the last two nights have gone for the Phillies. Herrera hit a high chopper back up the middle, and Matzek casually flipped his glove over his right shoulder, flagged it with his back turned to the plate and flipped it to second to start a double play.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Aaron Nola: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 58 pitches
Nola was not sharp whatsoever on Sunday. The right-hander is at his best when he establishes command of his fastball and works off it with his offspeed, but he didn’t have command of anything against the Braves. It was just the second time Nola has allowed four first-inning runs in his career, and his ERA jumped from 2.89 to 3.59 on the season.
Huascar Ynoa: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO, 92 pitches
The Phillies actually hit a decent number of balls hard and had some traffic on the basepaths early, but they were unable to cash in against Ynoa from his second through his final pitch of the evening. Ynoa left Realmuto at third in the first inning and stranded the leadoff runner at second in each of the next two, and he cruised from there. Ynoa retired 12 of his final 13 hitters. His season ERA is 2.23.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Freddie Freeman
It seems all Freeman needed to get going was a series against the Phillies. Freeman was 1 for his last 31 before his sixth-inning homer Saturday, and he’s 4-for-5 with two homers since, including 3-for-3 on Sunday. Freeman’s baserunning was his less obvious contribution; his taking second on Herrera’s throw in the first may have eventually avoided a rally-killing double play on Marcell Ozuna’s subsequent grounder.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Tuesday, May 11 vs. Washington Nationals at 7:05 p.m. ET
- Nationals Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- 94 WIP
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