Luiz Gohara, making his fourth career start, did almost everything that was asked of him, going seven innings and allowing just a solo home run, along with four other hits and two walks, while striking out nine Philadelphia batters. Unfortunately for the Braves, even that strong effort was not enough, and the home team fell by a 2-0 score in their last game within the confines of SunTrust Park for the year.
The contest was quiet and relatively snappy. Ender Inciarte collected his 195th hit in the bottom of the first, but was later retired as part of a strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play to end the inning. The Braves got another decent scoring chance against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta in the second, as Kurt Suzuki hit a soft single to third base and took second as third baseman Maikel Franco’s throw was well wide of the mark. But, predictably, Suzuki ended up being stranded on second base as Rio Ruiz flew out and Dansby Swanson lined out.
Gohara faced the minimum through three and mostly cruised. He was aided by Nick Markakis throwing out two would-be doubles in the first and third innings, and worked out of a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth by eliciting a lineout to left. The fifth is when he finally gave up his run: Maikel Franco crushed a grooved offspeed pitch into the left-field seats. Gohara then recovered by striking out the next three hitters, as well as three of the next seven he faced, to end his day on a very positive note.
The Braves, though, still didn’t manage anything. A two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth was thwarted by Gohara’s spot coming up, and the Braves wasted another leadoff single from Inciarte in the sixth. Pivetta left the game in the seventh, but Edubray Ramos had the same stifling results. The Phillies tacked on their second run against A.J. Minter in the eighth, courtesy of a leadoff single and a two-out double by Aaron Altherr. Minter collected two strikeouts in the frame despite the blemish.
Inciarte hit yet another single in the eighth, this time with two outs, but was once again stranded as the Braves failed to do anything against Adam Morgan. Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, and Hector Neris came on to close the game out for the Phils. Things got a wee bit dicey for Neris, as both Freeman and Suzuki singled back up the middle to put the tying runs on base with one out. However, Neris struck out both Rio Ruiz and pinch-hitter Matt Adams on a combined seven pitches to end the game.
Pivetta allowed just six baserunners in six innings, striking out four in the process. The Braves drew just one walk in the game, and struck out seven times. Inciarte (three) and Suzuki (two) had the only multi-hit efforts for the Braves; Freddie Freeman went 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his return to the lineup. The Braves did not manage any extra-base hits all game, which is a big reason for their loss.
The last road trip of the year begins tomorrow, and the Braves will play a doubleheader in New York against the Mets to get it rolling.