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Braves can’t hold onto lead in ninth, lose 6-5 to Phillies

Luke Jackson made one of the most costly errors of the season so far.

Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

After a dramatic walkoff win in last night’s game the Braves were back in action tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies and Aaron Nola.

The Braves drew first blood in the second inning against the struggling Nola as Austin Riley sent a ball out to left field for his 11th home run of the season to give the Braves a quick 1-0 lead.

Sean Newcomb was impressive, making a spot start out of the bullpen. Sadly though his night was cut short in the top of the third inning when J.T. Realmuto lined a ball off the back of his head. Newcomb was responsive and walked off the field under his own power. He even mustered a smile.

Touki Toussaint was forced into action with two outs and had trouble finding the zone at first. The Phillies were able to score three runs in the inning to take the lead thanks to an error by Josh Donaldson followed up by a Scott Kingery RBI double to right field.

Atlanta got right back to business in the bottom of the third as Ronald Acuna Jr. singled to right and advanced to second on an error by Bryce Harper. Then, after a Dansby Swanson groundout to move Acuna over to third, Freddie Freeman also grounded out to bring him in.

With the score getting tight at 3-2 Philadelphia found some breathing room in the fourth inning when Cesar Hernandez hit a towering home run to right field that just cleared the wall.

Toussaint soon was pulled after the fifth inning. Toussaint has had some trouble with his command of late and it would not be a surprise to see him optioned to AAA-Gwinnett sometime soon to regain his form.

With Atlanta down 4-2 their quick strike offense went back to work against Nola in the bottom of the fifth. Acuna led off the inning with a walk and was followed on base by Dansby Swanson who was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second for Freeman. Freeman grounded into a fielders choice that put runners on the corners, but Josh Donaldson came to the rescue with a monster three run homer to left field.

Donaldson’s homer pushed Nola from the game and gave the Braves a 5-4 lead headed down the back stretch. Nola’s night ended with 4.1 innings pitched, allowing 5 earned runs.

After the Donaldson homer offense was hard to come by for either team as both the Phillies and Braves could not scratch in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. In the ninth Atlanta turned to their closer Luke Jackson looking to secure the series win.

Unfortunately Jackson could not do that. After allowing a Kingery single to left field, Jackson committed a fateful error on a bunt try by Sean Rodriguez that allowed both batters to reach second and third with no outs. Cesar Hernandez took advantage by dribbling a ball through the left side to retake the lead at 6-5. Fortunately Jackson was able to stop the bleeding there to turn it over to the Braves potent offense in the bottom of the ninth.

Acuna Jr. led off for the Braves in the bottom of the ninth against Hector Neris (who blew a save last night) and he promptly popped out to second. It was then up to Swanson who grounded out on the first pitch on an “excuse me” swing. Atlanta’s final hope was Freeman and he softly flew out to Harper to end it.

This was a game Atlanta should’ve won, but after absolutely stealing a game last night the series is dead even. The Braves turn to Mike Foltynewicz in tomorrow’s matchup for the series win.

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