As the hours ticked away before Monday’s 4:00 p.m. non-waiver Trade Deadline, Philadelphia’s top two young, controllable position players gave the Phillies as good an opportunity as ever to trade them.
Odubel Herrera cracked a long three-run homer, and Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph combined to go 5-for-8 with two RBIs and three runs scored as the Phillies triumphed over Atlanta on Monday afternoon, 7-6. The win gave the Phils their first four-game sweep of the Braves in Philadelphia since 1949.
“He’s over .280 [and] he’s playing very well, good defense, stole a base … He’s stolen a few bases lately and hopefully he’s going to get the knack of that and steal a few more. He’s been fantastic,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Hernandez’s play since returning from the DL in mid-July. Mackanin also noted Joseph’s opposite-field approach against hard-throwing Braves starter Mike Foltynewicz.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta spun six innings of one-run ball, capping a brilliant turn through the Phils’ rotation. In their last five games, Phillies starters have posted a 0.62 ERA (two runs, 29 innings).
“Seeing those guys have success knowing that we’re all in here together and we’re all doing the same thing kind of feeds off each other,” Pivetta said.
The Braves threatened after Pivetta was pulled, scoring three runs in just one-third of an inning off Jesen Therrien in his second big league appearance. But, as has been the case all series, their runners-in-scoring-position woes hampered any chance for a comeback. Facing Phils reliever Luis Garcia in the eighth, Atlanta loaded the bases but was unable to bring home a run as Garcia struck out Tyler Flowers swinging with back-to-back 99-mph fastballs.
The Braves went 1-8 after beginning this 11-game road trip by handing the Dodgers two of the three losses they totaled in July. Kurt Suzuki hit his team-high eighth home run of the month, but also flew out to left after Nick Markakis delivered a two-out RBI single in the ninth.
“These kinds of runs happen every now and then,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “You’ve just got to grind through it. There’s nothing else to do. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. You’ve got to make your own good luck.”
While neither Joseph or Hernandez were dealt, the Phillies did trade veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit and cash to the Pirates for Class A Advanced reliever Seth McGarry.
Another day, another Herrera homer. The latest, his sixth in the last 17 games — punctuated as per usual by his signature bat toss — climbed into the second deck in right field to give the Phillies an early 4-0 lead.
“Herrera had a really good homestand and that three-run [home run] he hit was fun to watch,” Mackanin said.
The Braves clawed their way back in the game with five runs between the fifth and eighth innings, turning a 5-0 game into a one-run deficit. To provide a bit of cushion and breathing room for Philadelphia, Maikel Franco got a 3-0 green light and served a Sam Freeman fastball into the upper deck in left field.
Suzuki tallied eight home runs over 44 at-bats in July. The eight he tallied over 345 at-bats last year stood as his highest season total since he recorded 14 homers in 2011.
Coming off an 11-game road trip, the Braves will return to SunTrust Park to begin a three-game series against the Dodgers Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. CT. Lucas Sims is expected to be promoted from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his Major League debut. Sims will be filling the rotation spot vacated when Jaime Garcia was traded to the Twins.