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Braves lose 3-0, NL East lead down to ½ game

The Braves fell victim to a dominant Nick Pivetta

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves strolled into Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia on Monday, riding a high from Sunday’s comeback victory against the Marlins. After running into the buzzsaw that is Nick Pivetta, the momentum from that win might have dwindled a bit. The Braves fell in a heartbreaker, 3-0.

With their loss, Atlanta’s NL East lead is now down to ½ game.

Despite six strong innings from Mike Foltynewicz, a Nick Williams home run gave Philadelphia the lead and they never relented. Pivetta was just too much for the Braves on this night, as he spun 7 shutout innings and struck out 7.

The season series is now 6-4 in Atlanta’s favor.

Aside from some scattered base runners, the only fireworks in the first 3½ innings came when Ender Inciarte threw a laser from center to nab Cesar Hernandez, who was trying to advance on a deep flyout.

Pretty impressive for a guy who was pulled from yesterday’s game after a collision into the center field fence.

It wasn’t until Folty surrendered Williams’ wall-scraper home run in the 4th that the scoreboard was finally scratched. As the Braves’ offense was silent, that would be all the runs the Phillies needed, though they tacked on two more after an Aaron Altherr pinch hit homer in the 7th. Altherr’s home run came off Shane Carle, which his snapped a 14-game, 15⅓ inning scoreless stretch.

If there is a silver lining, it could be that the bite on Folty’s breaking pitches improved as the game went on. He was also more economical with his pitch count, as he reached 107 in his 5 inning stint last week against the Cubs. He threw 105 this time around, but that got him through the end of the 6th. Baby steps.

Despite the unfavorable outcome in tonight’s game, the Braves still have the best record in the National League. So we’ve got that going for us.

These two teams will meet again tomorrow for the second game of the series. Hopefully the Braves bats can come alive to push the division lead back to 1½ games.

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