After taking 4 of 5 on a road trip through Chicago and Toronto, the Phillies opened their longest homestand of the season with a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.
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The Phils now have a record of 10-2 since returning from the MLB All-Star break, and are 13-16 under interim manager Pete Mackanin.
With the team returning to Philly less starting ace Cole Hamels for the first time in over 9 years, Aaron Harang was activated from the DL, where he had spent the last two months recovering from plantar fasciitis.
Harang (5-11) was far from dominant, allowing 9 hits across his 5 innings pitched. But he allowed just one walk, and minimized damage by allowing just a single earned run to cross the plate. The bullpen took it from there, with newly anointed closer Ken Giles recording his 2nd Save to wrap things up.
The Braves actually got on the board first in this one, and looked like they might blow Harang out early. Three consecutive singles to begin the top of the 3rd loaded the bases. But Harang then struck out the dangerous Freddie Freeman swinging, and induced a grounder back to the mound, where he threw home to get the 2nd out on a force play.
Nearly wriggling out of that jam completely, he yielded an RBI single to A.J. Pierzynski to put Atlanta on the board. The lead wouldn’t last long, as the Phillies finally got to Braves’ starter Shelby Miller (5-8) for a pair of runs in the bottom of the 4th inning.
Three consecutive one-out singles loaded the bases, and then Carlos Ruiz came through with a 4th straight base hit. Chooch’s 2-run single put the Phils on top by 2-1. In the bottom of the 4th, Ryan Howard‘s RBI single made it a 3-1 lead. Then Domonic Brown led off the bottom of the 6th with a solo homer lined to right to make it a 4-1 game.
The Phillies now begin the process of piecing their new Hamels-less rotation together. David Buchanan gets the start on Friday, Aaron Nola will go on Saturday, and it is possible that Matt Harrison, acquired in the Hamels deal, will make his Phillies debut on Sunday afternoon.