With the loss, the Braves fall to 50-36, and the lead in the NL East shrinks to 4½ games. The Phillies now lead the season series, 5-2.
Dallas Keuchel had his best start with the Braves thus far, going seven strong innings and limiting the Phillies’ damage to two runs. Despite the loss, this is a proper look at what the Braves were hoping for when they signed him. His game has never been that of a completely overpowering pitcher, but rather one that can keep his team in the game day in and day out by keeping the ball on the ground. By that account, he was stellar this evening - 12 of the outs he induced came via the ground ball.
Unfortunately for the Braves, Aaron Nola was ridiculous all night. His curveball was dancing all over the place, and he resembled the version of himself that stifled the Braves on Opening Day. He went eight innings and struck out eight, walking three and allowing four hits.
For as forceful as the Braves offense has been, it was bizarre to see them so off-stride and looking so lost at the plate. More than anything, it is a testament to how filthy Nola’s arsenal looked.
Keuchel kept it clean for the first three innings, but the fourth inning is when the Phillies finally got to him. After allowing a lead off single to Jean Segura, he struck out Bryce Harper - eliciting a giant cheer from the Atlanta faithful - and induced a groundout from Rhys Hoskins. But he showed no willingness to pitch to JT Realmuto, walking him on four pitches, and Jay Bruce followed with a double into the right field corner that scored both base runners. Just like that, the Phillies were up 2-0.
Like the solid veteran he is, he rebounded accordingly from the unsightly fourth inning and provided three additional scoreless afterwards. He dealt with plenty of traffic on the basepaths - particularly in the sixth, when he put runners on second and third with one out, but wiggled out of it with the help of a few well-placed groundouts.
Like Keuchel, the three Braves relievers to appear - Chad Sobotka, Jerry Blevins, and Josh Tomlin - also dealt with their fair share of baserunners, but were successful in keeping the score within reach.
Alas, Hector Neris struck out the side in the ninth to send the Braves packing. These two teams will meet again tomorrow at 7:20pm ET, where Bryse Wilson will face Nick Pivetta.