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Braves drop series and get shut out again against Phillies

The Phillies finally take a series against the Braves and Atlanta will head to Boston on the heels of another shutout loss.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

For the second time in three nights, the Braves were wholly bamboozled by Phillies pitching, as Jake Arrieta held Atlanta in check for the most part as the Phillies ended up winning the series with a 4-0 victory.

At first glance, it seemed like this was going to be a two-way pitcher’s duel between Arrieta and Luiz Gohara as both pitchers started off the game strongly. With that being said, it did appear as if the Braves would be the team to draw first blood in this one. Ender Inciarte and Johan Camargo started off the second inning with a single and double, respectively. That put two runners in scoring position with nobody out, but Jake Arrieta took advantage of seeing the bottom of the order and then got Ozzie Albies to ground out to end the inning with a zero still on the scoreboard.

While Atlanta’s missed opportunities didn’t come back to bite them in Tuesday night’s game, this did come back to haunt them tonight. The Phillies eventually broke through in the third inning by playing the smallest of small ball. Rhys Hoskins walked to reach base with two outs and then reached second on a “hit.” The scare quotes are there because it sure seemed like Hoskins ran out of the basepath to avoid getting tagged by Dansby Swanson, but the umpires ruled that he stayed in the basepaths and was ruled safe at second. Gohara issued another walk and then Carlos Santana hit a little tapper down the third base line that Johan Camargo had to keep in his pocket while the Phillies scored.

Philadelphia small-balled their way to another run in the fourth inning. Scott Kingery walked on four pitches, then Jake Arrieta bunted him over to second base. That led to Cesar Hernandez hitting the second pitch he saw into right field for a single that brought home Kingery to double Philadelphia’s lead. It could’ve gotten worse when Rhys Hoskins hit a pop fly to right field, but Nick Markakis made a great running catch to keep the Phillies at two runs at that point.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia kept on scoring while the Braves kept on doing the opposite. Jake Arrieta ended up cruising through six-and-two-thirds innings of shutout ball, while picking up seven strikeouts and just one walk along the way. Meanwhile, Luiz Gohara was done after just four innings and his immediate replacement was unable to keep Philadelphia from adding onto their lead.

Sam Freeman came on in the fifth and after getting the leadoff hitter out, he promptly walked Aaron Altherr and then gave up a double to Odubel Herrera with two outs to make it 3-0 Philadelphia at that point. It sure didn’t help that the ball took a really wonky bounce off the base of the left field wall, which threw off Ronald Acuña Jr. and allowed the runner to score easily.

Philadelphia scored again in the eighth inning to make it 4-0 but that was after Acuña made a spectacular diving catch, seemingly to atone for the wackiness that occurred earlier in the game.

Between that and Markakis’ running catch earlier in the game, those were the only real highlights for the Braves as it seemed like they were merely passengers on the ride that the Phillies were taking them on tonight. As a result, the Braves will be heading to Boston with a series loss under their belts and they surely know that they’ll have to do much better if they want to get anything against the Red Sox in Fenway.

Meanwhile, the Phillies can leave the ballpark knowing that they can indeed beat this Braves team after getting all they could possibly want and handle from the Braves here in the early stages of the season.

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