After laying dormant for the first half of tonight's game, the Atlanta Braves came to life in the latter stages of tonight's contest. Their four runs across the sixth through eighth innings of this one ended up being enough to push past the Philadelphia Phillies for a 4-2 win in a tight contest.
The first few innings of this game came and went about as one would've figured had the case with these two pitchers going. Ranger Suárez was as good as advertised, as he continued to keep runs at a minimum while he was on the mound. Meanwhile, Spencer Strider was finally able to get back to looking like the hurler that we're all used to seeing. That's not to say that he was at his best where he was striking out everybody in sight while getting incredibly deep into a given game but his performance tonight was still a massive improvement over what he had done for his past two starts.
With that being said, the Phillies were the first team to scratch across a run in this one. This came in the fifth inning when Brandon Marsh's second hit of the game got a bit of a rally going with one out in the frame for Philadelphia. After a single from Kyle Schwarber and a sacrifice fly from Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos shot a looping liner out into right field to plate Marsh and put the Phillies in the lead after a tense few innings.
Fortunately, the Braves didn't wait too long to respond. While Ranger Suárez spent the vast majority of his outing in complete control out there, he had one moment where he was probably cursing his luck. With Austin Riley at the plate, Suárez threw a cutter inside and instead of taking it for a ball, Riley took a swing and crushed it over the fence in left field for a game-tying solo shot. The solo homer may have been Suárez's only conceded run of the night but it was just the beginning for Atlanta's offense from that point forward.
Jeff Hoffman entered the game in the seventh inning and the Braves wasted no time attacking the new pitcher. Orlando Arcia led off the frame with a walk, Eddie Rosario entered the game as a pinch hitter and hit a double down the line to put both runners in scoring position and then both runs were cashed in soon afterwards. Ronald Acuña Jr. looped one into center field to put the Braves ahead and then a productive out from Ozzie Albies while Acuña was running on the pitch was able to free up Rosario to score on the ground ball.
Atlanta then added another run in the eighth inning after Hoffman exited the game and made way for Andrew Vasquez. The first batter Vasquez saw was Matt Olson and three pitches into this plate appearance, Vasquez threw a slider that stayed in the zone and Olson made no mistake with it. The power-hitting first baseman kept it fair and the Braves had pushed their cushion to three runs at that point in the contest.
The Phillies threatened to cut into that deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning after Nick Anderson came in to relieve A.J. Minter. Anderson sandwiched a walk in between a pair of outs before J.T. Realmuto came up and hit a two-out single to center field. Perhaps sensing that his team needed to make a charge sooner rather than later, Realmuto attempted to turn the single into a hustle double. Michael Harris II plays center field for the Braves, however, so this ended up being a very bad decision. Realmuto was called out at second on the throw and even though the review was a controversial one, it stood in favor of the Braves and the scoring chance was wiped out right then and there.
Following a quiet ninth inning (which saw Ronald Acuña Jr. steal his 31st base of the season and doing so on yet another non-pitch because the third baseman wasn't paying attention) at the plate, the Braves turned to Raisel Iglesias to finish things off in this one. The Phillies were able to get a run past Iglesias after Bryson Stott led off the ninth with a double that squeaked out of Eddie Rosario's glove as he hit the ground. After two productive outs for Philadelphia scored their second run of the game, Brandon Marsh kept the game going with a single to bring up the always-dangerous Kyle Schwarber. It doesn't take an expert to know that he was swinging for the fences in this at-bat but fortunately, Iglesias was able to strike him out swinging and complete the 4-2 victory for the Braves.
While Atlanta didn't exactly crack Ranger Suárez's code in this one, they were still able to get something going against Philadelphia's bullpen. Combine that with Spencer Strider getting back on the right track and the bullpen taking the baton and running with once Strider was finished and this was a very solid win for the Braves. The Marlins also lost, so the Braves are now alone in being the hottest team in this division as they pushed their winning streak to seven games as they snapped Philadelphia's streak at six wins in a row. Atlanta now has an opportunity to take a series win starting with tomorrow evening's game at 6:40 PM E.T.