The Atlanta Braves looked like they were settled into an old-fashioned pitchers' duel last night at Citizens Bank Park. The scoreboard was showing a 2-1 Phillies lead after seven innings, with Atlanta's Ervin Santana striking out 11 and Philadelphia's pitchers giving up just four hits and an Evan Gattis HR to that point.
In the eighth inning, the bullpens made their presence known. Unfortunately, it was by turning a pitchers' duel into a slugfest as the Braves prevailed for a wild 9-6 victory.
Evan Gattis, Dan Uggla, and Andrelton Simmons blasted back-to-back-to-back home runs off B. J. Rosenberg in the top of the 8th inning to give the Braves a 5-1 lead. The Philles answered in the bottom of the inning with a two-run single by Marlon Byrd and a three-run homer by Domonic Brown to retake the lead, 6-5. Atlanta answered again in the top of the ninth innings with a grand slam by Dan Uggla for the final margin of victory.
The win was Atlanta's fourth straight. The Braves had swept the Washington Nationals this past weekend at Turner Field, before beginning their current four-game set in Philly. The Braves will then follow that with a three-game set in New York against the Mets.
Luis Avilan picked up the win for the Braves, but it was in a manner that one could hardly call deserved. In the critical eighth inning, Avilan was blown up by five runs (all earned) on four hits and a walk, erasing a masterful performance by Santana. Santana tied his career high in strikeouts, with all eleven coming via swinging strikeouts over his six innings of work.
Ian Thomas and Anthony Varvaro worked a scoreless seventh, while David Carpenter picked up the save with a scoreless ninth inning. Carpenter got the call with Craig Kimbrel taking a day off for soreness in his shoulder.
Hernandez starts strong
P Roberto Hernandez gave the Phillies six strong innings, giving up just four hits and striking out three. He left trailing 2-1, though his teammates would later take him off the hook for the loss.
Santana strikes out 11
P Ervin Santana, making just his second start in a Braves uniform, struck out a career-high 11 batters, all via swinging rather than looking. Santana left with a 2-1 lead after giving up four hits and two walks, with the lone damage coming via a Ryan Howard solo blast.
Ryan Howard hit a solo homer in the second inning off Santana to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead at Citizens Bank Park. It was Howard's third homer of the year. Howard went 1-for-4 on the night as his other three plate appearances were strikeouts.
Gattis hits 2 HR
Roberto Hernandez asks for the ball back in frustration, as Evan Gattis rounds the bases after a two-run homer in the sixth to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead. Gattis also hit a solo HR in the eighth inning.
Simmons blasts solo shot
SS Andrelton Simmons hit a solo blast in the eighth inning as the tail end of a back-to-back-to-back homer stretch for Atlanta in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead. It was Simmons' 2nd homer of the year. He went 3 for 5, coming up just a double short of the cycle, and is hitting .341 for the year.
Domonic Brown HR for the lead
The Phillies rallied in the eighth inning on a two-run Marlon Byrd single and a three-run blast by Domonic Brown. It was Brown's first home run of the year, and it gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead heading into the ninth inning.
Uggla slam seals it
Dan Uggla hit two home runs, with the second being a grand slam that give the Braves a 9-6 lead in the top of the ninth inning. Uggla also had a couple of great defensive plays earlier in the game to keep it close. The shots were Uggla's first homers of the season.