Mike Foltynewicz put together another excellent start and the offense erupted as the Braves finally put one in the win column against the MLB-worst Phillies. As you can tell from the score, this game was pretty much all Braves, all the time — it got to the point that utilityman Andres Blanco had to pitch for Philadelphia due to the lopsided nature of the score.
Foltynewicz, who had a great start in the unfriendly confines of Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park last time out, doubled down on his success by keeping the Phillies scoreless over seven innings. He allowed no extra-base hits after the first inning, walked just two batters, and faced just four over the minimum, thanks to a couple of double plays turned behind him, including one of the weirdest (bad) plays you’ll ever see, where Odubel Herrera inexplicably stopped running on a fielder’s choice groundout that retired the hitter at first base. All told, Foltynewicz gave up just two hits and two walks, while striking out four, and left the game having thrown just 94 pitches.
At first, the Braves appeared to struggle with Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff, who faced the minimum through three innings. (Ender Inciarte hit a leadoff single, but was picked off by Eickhoff.) Things quickly unraveled for him the second time through the lineup, though. In the fourth, Brandon Phillips roped a one-out single and scored on a Nick Markakis double to left-center. The Braves stranded Markakis on second, but came roaring back in the fifth. Tyler Flowers reached on what was scored a three-base error on third baseman Maikel Franco, and Rio Ruiz walked, setting up a Dansby Swanson three-run homer on a very, very grooved “slider” from Eickhoff. The pitch was pretty much in the exact middle of the plate.
Eickhoff made it through the fifth but didn’t continue, ending his day with a line of five innings pitched, four runs (three earned), four hits, one walk, and four strikeouts. Fortunately for the Braves, they then proceeded to beat up on the Philadelphia bullpen. Adam Morgan threw a scoreless sixth against the home team, but was demolished in the seventh, as the Braves loaded the bases with none out on two singles and a walk, scored a run on an Inciarte RBI single, and then scored two runs off of new reliever Joely Rodriguez as Nick Markakis doubled to left again, this time down the third-base line. Rodriguez then issued back-to-back walks to the Matts in the Atlanta lineup to push another run across.
Already up 8-0, the Braves would score six more times in the eighth off of Luis Garcia and the aforementioned Andres Blanco, doing yeoman’s relief work. Markakis hit yet another double to left, again down the line, scoring two more runs. Danny Santana then pitched in with a two-run pinch-hit double of his own, and Matt Adams greeted Blanco with a towering home run to center.
Jose Ramirez pitched a scoreless eighth (with the Braves up by eight, it was a potentially strange bullpen decision), and then Luke Jackson gave up a garbage time run on a Daniel Nava pinch-hit single in the ninth to cap the scoring.
Nick Markakis collected three hits (all doubles hit the other way) and five RBI. Dansby Swanson notched three hits of his own, including the three-run homer, and scored three runs, pushing his average above .200 and his OPS above .600. Rio Ruiz, now ensconced in the lineup due to the Adonis Garcia injury, went 0-for-1 with three runs scored and three walks.
The Braves will try to earn a four-game split tomorrow night, as R.A. Dickey faces off against some gentleman named Ben Lively.