Newcomb Solid, but Braves Fall in 11 to Phils

Saturday revealed just how valuable Odubel Herrera is to the Phillies’ lineup.

The enigmatic outfielder tied the game in the ninth by smacking his 10th homer of the season to right field with the Phillies down to their last two outs. Then in the 11th, he extended the inning with a one-out single that moved the game-winning run into scoring position. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, Ty Kelly laced a single to the gap in left for the first walk-off hit of his career to seal a 4-3 win at Citizens Bank Park.
Kelly has 13 hits this season, five of which have been go-ahead hits, including the walk-off.
“I’ve had some big opportunities off the bench, and it’s always nice when you can capitalize on those situations,” Kelly said.
Herrera’s clutch homer came off Atlanta’s closer Jim Johnson, who was one of three Braves relievers to allow a run. Johnson has now allowed at least one run in four of his last eight appearances, during which he has blown three saves.
“Everybody I would change to gave up a run tonight,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s just not [Johnson]. The other two probably other options gave up runs, too. I’m talking about [Arodys] Vizcaino and [Rex] Brothers. Those would probably be the guys I’d go to. It’s something you think about.”
Much of Philadelphia’s quiet start came at the hand of Braves starter Sean Newcomb, who threw with five innings of two-hit, one-run ball, while walking three.
“I’m seeing a lot of really good things out of him,” Snitker said. “He’s doing fine. He’s growing here. He just faced what, four of the top teams in the game and battled his way through tonight. I thought he competed and did a really good job.”
An error in the first tacked two unearned runs onto Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff’s line, before he escaped five innings with just one earned run allowed. Dating back to the June 17, the game before he was placed on the disabled list with a back injury, Eickhoff has a 2.89 ERA in 28 innings.
“It’s been a test all year,” Eickhoff said. “To be able to put things in line and make some pitches there at the end, that’s the biggest thing. I’m learning from mistakes, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Phillies’ bullpen backed Eickhoff by throwing six scoreless innings, allowing five hits without walking a batter.
The Phillies had tallied just two hits through seven innings when, to lead off the eighth, Hernandez roped a triple into the right-field corner. Aaron Altherr then worked the count to 2-2 and inside-outed a 99-mph inside fastball from Vizciano into right field to plate Hernandez, cutting the Braves’ lead in half..
In just his 14th Major League game at third base, Braves slugger Freddie Freeman showed off his defensive chops. Two batters after Altherr’s single, Tommy Joseph ripped a one-hopper to Freeman at third. Freeman, usually found patrolling first base, went down to a knee, slid to his right while backhanding the ball and kindling a 5-4-3 double play to end the frame and the scoring threat.
Phillies right-hander Luis Garcia extended his career-long scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings. It is the longest single-season streak by a Phillies reliever since Larry Andersen’s club record of 32 2/3 in 1984.
Nick Markakis’ three hits on the night — two doubles and a single — inched him ever closer to the career 2,000-hit mark.
Markakis now has 1,995 hits (and 416 two-baggers) across his 12 big league seasons. With five more base knocks, he’ll the ninth active player to reach 2,000, joining an impressive group headlined by Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Adrian Beltre, and Ichiro Suzuki. Only seven active players have more doubles.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.31 ERA) will start for Atlanta in the finale Sunday in Philadelphia at 12:35 p.m. CT. Last time Dickey threw in Philadelphia was as a member of the Blue Jays, when he allowed five earned and nine hits in four innings in August 2015. He has a 5.40 ERA in four starts in Philadelphia, but an overall 2.98 ERA against the Phillies.