Braves top Phillies to start second half


Jul 18, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

With hopes to start the second half strong the Phillies got on the board first against the Atlanta Braves Friday night, but fell 6-4 after every Atlanta starter except Freddie Freeman collected a hit.

It was Atlanta’s third straight win and the third straight loss for Philadelphia (all against National League East opponents), putting the Phillies 11 games behind the Braves in the NL East.B

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (6-9) allowed all six Atlanta runs on ten hits with a walk and five strikeouts.  The Phillies bullpen combined for  three perfect innings of relief between Jeff Manship, Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus.

Cody Asche‘s sacrifice fly in the second inning with the bases loaded was the first plated run of the game.  It was followed by fill-in catcher Cameron Rupp‘s RBI single to put the Phillies up 2-0 early.  The lead didn’t last long as the Braves piled on 4 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Jason Heyward hit a home run, B.J. Upton had an RBI base hit and Andrelton Simmons  knocked in two runs with a double to ensure a Braves lead for the rest of the game.

In the fifth inning, which was Burnett’s last, the braves added two more runs after a pair of RBI singles by Heyward and rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella.

The Phillies cut the Braves lead to 6-4 in the sixth.  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley scored off a broken-bat single by Ryan Howard.

Craig Kimbrel picked up his 30th save with a perfect ninth inning by forcing Marlon Byrd to groundout and striking out Grady Sizemore and Cody Asche.  Sizemore had two hits on the night.

Braves starter Ervin Santana (8-6) won for the third time in four starts and improved to 3-1 against the Phillies this season.