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.