The night started off with a few bloops and a wormburner against Max Fried, and it just seemed like it could be one of those nights.
However, someone decided to light up the big “Hulk Smash” sign in center, and the Braves offense responded early and often in an unexpected yet exciting offensive outburst to earn one of their most convincing wins of the year.
The three hits Fried allowed in the first had a combined exit velocity of 181.1 mph. Realmuto (58.9 mph), Segura (62.7 mph) and Gosselin (59.5 mph).— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) August 22, 2020
Max Fried looked good early with two quick outs. However, in one of the unluckiest innings in recent memory, the BABIP gods decided the Phillies needed a little luck and gifted them a run after two bloops into right field and a slow roller to Austin Riley. Thankfully, the Braves escaped the inning without further damage being done.
After the Braves were unable to cash in a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the first, both Fried and Aaron Nola were able to quickly work through the second inning. The third inning was not so kind, as J.T. Realmuto once again connected on a base hit, this time a double to move him and Andrew McCutchen into scoring position. Fortunately, Jean Segura then grounded out to third base to end the threat.
In the bottom of the third, the Braves decided it was time to make a splash. And simply for good measure, they decided to make it two splashes in a row. Travis d’Arnaud and Marcell Ozuna connected on a two-run blast and solo home run to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. However. the bottom of the order also decided to make some noise, as Johan Camargo doubled in Austin Riley to make it 4-1. The damage resulted in Phillies ace Aaron Nola exiting before the end of the third inning.
Max Fried quickly worked his way through the top of the fourth, and the Braves also went down quietly in the fourth inning. After Fried worked around a lead off single in the top of the fifth, he sat down the Phillies in order to end his night after five innings. Five innings, five hits allowed, two walks and five strikeouts was Fried’s final line. Though not as dominant as he was in previous outings, it was more than enough as the Braves offense was just getting started.
In the bottom of the fifth, Adam Duvall singled, Austin Riley reached on an error, and Duvall then scored on another Camargo RBI double. Ender Inciarte then brought Riley home on a sacrifice fly. Dansby Swanson reached on an error that scored Camargo, Freddie Freeman walked, and d’Arnaud got another RBI on a single that scored Swanson. Ozuna then stepped to the plate and added a three run homer to cap off an eight run inning that resulted in a 11-1 lead for Atlanta.
After both teams made little noise in the sixth inning, the Phillies added their second run of the night in the top of the seventh. But it was far too late, as the Braves bullpen, including solid outings by Luke Jackson and Chris Martin, kept the Phillies in check and allowed the Braves to earn the win, 11-2.
It was the first time Atlanta had scored more than 10 runs since August 4th. The fact that it came against Nola, one of the best pitchers in the game so far this year who had previously had plenty of success against Atlanta, is no small feat. The strength of this team is the offense, and with the questions surrounding the starting staff, that offense is going to need to be reliable. That made a statement win against a division opponent, and now are halfway to 30 wins with 34 games left to play, a positive development for a team that is hopefully on its way to the playoffs.
OH....and one more memorable moment occurred...
Cristian Pache struggled a bit at the plate to begin the game, but he found success with his first major league hit. Hopefully, it will be the first of a few thousand or more in a Braves uniform.