Between the presence of Ryan Howard and a two-hour rain delay, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant start to the evening at Turner Field. Philadelphia’s slugging first baseman kicked things off with a blast and the Atlanta Braves trailed heavily in the opening frames on Tuesday, but by the end of the night, the home team escaped with a 7-6 victory to take control of this week’s series.
The first inning was quite unkind to Braves starter Julio Teheran and the damage was done within five batters. After retiring the leadoff man via strikeout, Teheran loaded the bases by issues two singles and a walk and, on cue, Howard strolled to the plate with his “Braves Killer” persona fully in tact.
He didn’t disappoint in that role.
Howard took a Teheran offering over the right field wall for a grand slam and, in a flash, the home team was in a 4-0 hole. From there, the Phillies would add two more runs in the second inning to take a 6-0 lead and Atlanta was on the ropes.
The Braves would scratch home a run in the fourth inning, as Freddie Freeman went yard to extend his hitting to 29 games. That mark ties for the longest streak in MLB this season and, frankly, that was the lone bright spot during the first half of Tuesday’s game.
The evening became even longer after that, as a rain delay of more than two hours arrived after the fourth frame. Following the delay, Teheran was replaced by Tyrell Jenkins, who promptly tossed two scoreless innings, and the Braves would, in fact, make a push for the lead.
Nick Markakis pushed a run across with a single to left in the sixth inning and Tyler Flowers contributed the big swing in the frame, stroking a three-run home run over the center field wall to plate both Markakis and Freeman. That brought Atlanta within a one-run margin at 6-5, but the Braves squandered a prime scoring opportunity in the seventh and the outlook seemed bleak.
From that point forward, however, it was all Braves, as the bullpen kept Philadelphia in check to set things up for the offense. The bottom of the eighth arrived with Atlanta still in a one-run deficit, but Mallex Smith contributed the game-tying base knock to plate Freeman and an infield single from Emilio Bonifacio brought Flowers across to give Brian Snitker’s bunch a come-from-behind win.
It certainly wasn’t a breezy occasion, but the Braves did enough to win after more than five hours following the scheduled first pitch. Teheran was woeful (4 IP, 10 H, 2 BB, 6 ER), but the bullpen combined for five scoreless innings and, when needed the most, the offense was up to the task.
The Braves and Phillies will reunite on Wednesday evening at Turner Field. Stay tuned.