Just one day after Julio Teheran outlasted Cliff Lee in an epic pitcher’s duel, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies again found themselves in an incredibly low-scoring game during the afternoon series finale on Thursday. Unfortunately for Braves fans, though, things didn’t finish quite as well for Atlanta in this particular game, thanks to an 8th-inning run manufactured by the home team that led to a final score of 1-0.
With the score at 0-0, Braves starter Alex Wood, who was utterly fantastic on this day, allowed a leadoff single to Phillies outfielder Dominic Brown to begin the 8th inning. Brown was quickly sacrificed to second on a bunt from Wil Nieves, and after it looked like Wood may escape the inning with some help from a strikeout of Jayson Nix, Philly executed in a way that Atlanta couldn’t in the previous half-inning. Ryan Howard, who was inexplicably pinch-hitting against a left-handed pitcher, drew a walk from Wood (yikes), and that was followed by the game-winner on a 2-out RBI single by Ben Revere to center field.
Following that breakthrough from the Phillies, Wood retired Jimmy Rollins via the strikeout, but the damage was done. Philly closer Jonathan Papelbon slammed the door in the 9th with a 1-2-3 inning that concluded in back-to-back strikeouts of Justin Upton and Chris Johnson and that was that.
In the aforementioned top of the 8th inning, the Braves actually generated a leadoff double from Gerald Laird, who started Thursday’s game at catcher for Atlanta. Alex Wood failed to get a bunt down with no outs, though, and after a frozen rope from Jason Heyward was snagged in right field, BJ Upton popped out to end Atlanta’s best threat of the day offensively.
The 23-year-old Wood was lights-out in this start, and frankly, the performance is on the short list for the best in his young career. He navigated 8 innings while allowing only the single run, only 8 hits, and 1 walk while striking out 7 batters. Even the run that came across wasn’t a result of hard-hit balls, and Wood was devastating while working in the bottom part of the zone with his now customary sinking movement that also generated 12 ground-ball outs in the game.
With the bats, no Braves hitter could solve Philadelphia starter AJ Burnett, who failed to get the “win” despite 7 innings of shutout, 3-hit ball. Only Freddie Freeman reached base more than once (he singled and walked), and the entire game had the look of an offense who was performing like a group during a day game on getaway day.
The Braves hit the road for New York following this one, where they will meet the New York Mets on Friday evening at 7:10 pm from Citi Field. Regardless of the outcome when the Washington Nationals meet the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, the Braves will hold the NL East lead, but it’s far too early to be scoreboard watching at this stage, and Atlanta will take solace in another series victory despite snapping a 5-game winning streak.
Tags: Atlanta Braves