Spencer Strider turned in another spectacular performance and the Atlanta Braves completed a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies with a 5-2 win Sunday afternoon at Truist Park.
The Phillies made Strider work early, but he was still able to keep them off the scoreboard. Strider walked Kyle Schwarber to lead off the game, but then retired the next three hitters in order, including back-to-back strikeouts of Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper. Strider again walked the leadoff man in the second, issuing a free pass to Brandon Marsh, but again retired the next three hitters in order.
Strider struck out Garrett Stubbs to start the third, but then walked Schwarber again. However, he got Hoskins and Harper to pop out to end the inning. Strider didn’t allow a hit but still needed 60 pitches to navigate the first three innings.
Bailey Falter needed just 22 pitches to get through the first two innings, retiring the first six Braves hitters he faced. Michael Harris II greeted him with a 110.6 mph double into the right-center gap to start the third. Harris moved over to third on a fly out by Marcell Ozuna and then came in to score on a double by Robbie Grossman to put Atlanta up 1-0.
Nice, man.#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/sjiYBi9GPV— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 18, 2022
Alec Bohm reached on a two-base error by Austin Riley to start the fourth, but Strider locked in and struck out Marsh, Jean Segura and Bryson Stott to leave the runner stranded.
Strider began the fifth by striking out Nick Maton for his 200th strikeout of the season. He is the first Braves rookie pitcher since Kid Nichols in 1890 to tally at least 200 strikeouts.
200 strikeouts.— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) September 18, 2022
As a rookie. pic.twitter.com/EzLJwxHeuG
Strider got Stubbs to pop out and then finished off the inning with a strikeout of Schwarber. Atlanta threatened in the bottom half of the inning, but again was unable to cash in. Ozuna led off the inning with a single, but was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Grossman that almost turned into a two-on situation because the ball was kicked around by Stott in the infield. Acuña popped out for the second out before Dansby Swanson singled to put runners at the corners. The Phillies went to the bullpen and brought in Andrew Bellatti, who struck out Austin Riley looking to leave the runners stranded.
Strider came back out to start the sixth and struck out Hoskins and then got Harper to ground out. Bohm then jumped on a first pitch slider and drove it out to center for a solo shot to tie the game. Harris almost made an amazing, homer-robbing catch, but over-extended his arm and had the ball bounce off its heel. Strider got Marsh to ground out to end the inning.
This close to Catch Of The Year territory pic.twitter.com/M5bu3T2rT2— Bally Sports South (@BallySportsSO) September 18, 2022
It was yet another excellent performance by Strider, who allowed just the homer and struck out 10 over six innings. He threw 106 pitches, notched his 200th strikeout of the season and had his sixth double-digit strikeout game of the season.
The game didn’t stay tied for long, as William Contreras took a 3-2 pitch from Phillies reliever Connor Brogdon and drove it over the wall in left for his 19th home run of the season to put the Braves back in front 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Wild Bill! @Wcontreras42 | #ForTheA pic.twitter.com/liEbJ3y8Fj— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 18, 2022
Tyler Matzek took over on the mound in the seventh and allowed a single by Jean Segura to lead off the inning. He then struck out Stott for the first out, but walked pinch-hitter J.T. Realmuto to put runners at first and second. After a visit by pitching coach Rick Kranitz, Matzek struck out pinch-hitter Matt Vierling and then got Schwarber to fly out to Harris in shallow center on the first pitch to bring the inning to an end.
The Braves struck for an insurance run against the Phillies bullpen in the home half of the inning when Grossman sent a pitch from Sam Coonrod into the Chop House seats to extend the lead to 3-1.
Gone, man!#ForTheA pic.twitter.com/EuUTyhGPox— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 18, 2022
Atlanta wasn’t finished, as Acuña followed with a double to the left field corner and then came around to score on a single by Riley to make it 4-1.
A.J. Minter allowed a two-out single to Bohm in the eighth, but got Marsh to fly out to end the inning. Atlanta added another run in the bottom half of the inning. Vaughn Grissom singled with one out off of Phillies closer David Robertson but was erased on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Harris. Marcell Ozuna followed with a double to the left field corner and Harris scored all the way from first to make it 5-1. Jesse Chavez allowed a solo home run to Realmuto in the ninth to round out the scoring.
With the win, The Braves improve to 91-55 on the season. They will continue their homestand on Monday when they begin a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.