The Phillies were overpowered by Atlanta starter Julio Teheran on Sunday in a 2-1 defeat at Turner Field, giving the host Braves a sweep of the 3-game weekend series.
The loss was the Phillies 6th straight, their 20th in the last 26 games, and drops the Phils to four games behind Atlanta at the bottom of the overall MLB standings with a dozen games to play for both clubs.
The Phillies ‘Magic Number’ to clinch the worst record in baseball and the accompanying #1 pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft is now at just 8 combined Phils losses and Braves wins.
Teheran didn’t earn a decision, unfortunately, because the Atlanta attack, such as it is, is just as bad as the Phillies’ offense. The Braves scored just 6 runs total in the series, but won all three games by identical 2-1 margins.
The hosts scored first in the very 1st inning as Nola got off to a shaky start. Ex-Phil Michael Bourn led off with a double, went to third on a single by Hector Olivera, and then scored on an RBI single to center from Freddie Freeman.
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Nola managed to escape that early trouble by inducing the next batter, cleanup hitter Adonis Garcia, to roll into a 5-4-3 double play. The Braves 1-0 lead would prove to be all the scoring until the final frame.
Nola went 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits and the lone earned run. He uncharacteristically walked 3 batters, just the 2nd time in his first dozen big league starts that he has allowed that many free passes.
It was Nola’s fourth time pitching into the 7th inning, and his total innings pitched in 2015 is now at the 182 mark. The Phillies have to be considering shutting him down now, as we speculated here at TBOH last week.
“He’ll definitely have one more start and then we’ll play it by ear,” Phillies interim manager Mackanin said a few days ago, per Philly.com’s Ryan Lawrence. “We want to take care of him and not overextend him. So we’ll just look at it after his next start and see where he’s at.“
Meanwhile, Teheran was dominating the Phillies hitters. He went 8.1 innings allowing just 5 hits and one walk while striking out 8 on the afternoon. The Phils got two of those hits after he got the first batter out in the 9th inning.
Aaron Altherr and Brian Bogusevic each singled to finally put the Phils in business. Braves’ skipper Fredi Gonzalez then went to his bullpen, bringing in reliever Peter Moylan. The righty got the 2nd out, but then Andres Blanco lined a game-tying RBI single to right field.
In the bottom of the 9th, Mackanin sent Luis Garcia out to protect the tie. But with one out, Garcia allowed a single to Andrelton Simmons, who advanced to 2nd base on a throwing error by Cody Asche. After an intentional walk, A.J. Pierzynski delivered a walkoff RBI single to score Simmons.
The Phillies will have Monday off as they head down to Miami for a 3-game series at Marlins Park with the host Fish. All three games will be 7:10pm starts. The club then concludes the road trip with 3 games over the weekend in Washington.