The host Atlanta Braves used the occasion of the 4th of July to set off some fireworks of their own on the field, exploding for four first-inning runs and then rocketing to a 9-5 victory over the Phillies.
Phils’ starter Kevin Correia was tomahawked by the Braves to the tune of 9 earned runs on 10 hits and 2 walks in just 3.1 innings. Correia (0-3) remains winless since signing with the club at the beginning of June. Over 5 starts, the 34-year old has yet to reach the 6th inning, and this one was his worst outing of them all.
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By the time Correia recorded an out in the bottom of the 1st, the hosts had recorded their four runs. In all, Atlanta ripped him for five singles, a double, and a walk. The damage could have been worse, as they left two runners on base, with pitcher Alex Wood making the final out.
Wood (6-5) was less than stellar himself. He surrendered a run in the 3rd when the still-hot Cesar Hernandez singled home Cameron Rupp, who had opened the frame with his own single, making it a 5-1 game. When the next two batters also reached base, the Phils had them loaded with just one out. But Wood got out of it with a pair of shallow fly balls.
Atlanta clinched the game with another 4-spot in the bottom of the 4th inning. Wood helped himself with a one-out double, scoring on an RBI single from Cameron Maybin. We featured Maybin at the start of this series here at TBOH, and it turns out that was prescient, as the centerfielder has had two strong games thus far.
Elvis Araujo came in to get the next two batters out, beginning a fine afternoon for the Phillies bullpen that would allow the club a shot to rally. Araujo would toss 2.2 innings of shutout ball, followed by solo innings from Justin De Fratus and Jake Diekman.
The Phillies bats finally broke through in the top of the 5th, with a 3-run homer off the bat of Darin Ruf getting them within 9-4. In the 6th, Rupp led off with a double, but he was stranded there. In the 8th, Odubel Herrera ripped a homer to right field, his 3rd of the season, cutting the deficit to 9-5.
The Phils would get no closer. Maikel Franco grounded into a doubleplay to end the game, clinching the team’s 6th straight loss and 9th in their last 10 games. They have lost 30 of 38 games going back to late-May, and they are 1-8 under manager Pete Mackanin.
The two teams will wrap this series with an afternoon game on Sunday that should feature an outstanding pitching matchup. Cole Hamels takes the mound for the Phillies. Each start now is a major audition for the lefty ace, and each is possibly his final start in a Phils uniform as the MLB trade deadline now looms just 3 1/2 weeks away.
Jul 4, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves cheerleaders stand on the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies in the seventh inning at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports