Braves Fall to Phillies 5-4 On Frustrating Night


June 17, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) hits a home run during the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It was in inauspicious start for the Atlanta Braves as Andrelton Simmons was rung up looking by Angel Hernandez to start the game. The ball he was called out on was comically high but such is the Angel Hernandez experience. The Braves found themselves frustrated by the umpires all night en route to losing to the Phillies 5-4. Especially frustrating was Gerald Laird and Fredi Gonzalez being ejected in the top of the 3rd arguing a third strike call on Laird and then even worse was a seeming ground rule double off the bat of Humberto Quintero being ruled a 2 run home run. Ultimately, the Braves found themselves trailing 5-0 after six before managing to show any signs of life vs the Phillies.

The Phillies took the lead in the first inning when a tailor made double play ball off the bat of Ryan Howard was thrown into left field by Freddie Freeman allowing Jimmy Rollins to score. The Quintero double/called home run in the third put the Phillies up 3-0. The frustration continued in the fourth when left handed starter Paul Maholm allowed a solo home run to Howard who came into the game with a .223 wOBA vs lefties. It was 5-0 after six when Domonic Brown scored off a Quintero double, a play on which the throw to plate beat Brown but Brown’s slide managed to dislodge the ball from Brian McCann’s glove. After six with seemingly every break going against the Braves and Cliff Lee dominating things were looking grim.

The Braves showed signs of life in the 7th when a Freddie Freeman hit by pitch, and a Chris Johnson single put two on for Dan Uggla who crushed a Lee cutter into the left field seats. Down only two the Braves kept the momentum going with a McCann double and pinch hit by Reed Johnson. A Simmons sac fly brought home McCann before Justin Upton struck out with runners on 1st and 2nd to end the inning. Still only down one the Braves had a chance. Luis Avilan came on in relief of Maholm pitching a routine seventh. Antono Bastardo had no problem with the top of the 8th and Avilan and Anthony Varvaro pitched around two out trouble in the bottom of the inning.

The Braves came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th facing Jonathan Papelbon who despite his stellar reputation has been struggling of late. Papelbon struck out B.J. Upton on a full count before a terrific diving catch by defensive replacement John Mayberry robbed Brian McCann of a possible double. Pinch hitter Joey Terdoslavich picked up his first big league hit on a single to right to bring up Braves leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons. Simmons fouled off several pitches before popping out to Rollins to end the game. The Braves fall to 49-37 five games ahead of the Nationals. The Braves and Phillies play game two of their series tomorrow night with Tim Hudson facing Kyle Kendrick.