By GEORGE HENRY, AP Sports Journalist
ATLANTA (AP) — Dansby Swanson scored the game-breaking run in the fifth inning on an atrocious Phillies defensive streak, and the Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia 8-4 on Wednesday night.
Swanson singled out and came in to score for a 5-4 lead on a play that started with a wild pitch from reliever José Alvarado (0-2) and a high pitch from receiver JT Realmuto in an attempt to keep Swanson out. to reach second place.
The errors got worse from there.
The ball went past the outstretched gloves of Jean Segura at second and Bryson Stott at shortstop, then went under the glove of center fielder Odúbel Herrera for a two-base error.
It appeared that Segura and Stott could have caught the ball – neither were charged with error – and prevented it from escaping. Herrera charged and passed the ball, then looked even more miserable as he retreated to pick it up near the warning lane.
Austin Riley followed with his ninth homer to make it 6-4. Swanson, who went 4-for-5, connected his sixth homer, a shot from the opposite field on the right, for a 7-4 lead in the sixth. He also added an RBI single in the second for four runs.
Charlie Morton, a 38-year-old who is making his 300th career start, failed runners in third in first and fourth but couldn’t escape trouble in fifth as the Phillies scored twice to tie at 4. He was chased on Segura’s RBI single.
Morton went 3-2 with a 2.19 ERA in five starts against Philadelphia last year, but he wasn’t so lucky this time, being charged with nine hits and four runs in 4 1/3 of sleeves.
Ranger Suárez has had a 2.49 ERA since becoming a full-time Phillies starter on Aug. 2 and has had a 1.91 ERA in seven road starts since joining the rotation. He didn’t do as well against Atlanta, allowing five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Spencer Strider (1-1) picked up the win in relief.
Atlanta took a 4-1 lead in the second. After William Contreras’ seventh homer narrowly went over the left wall, Ozzie Albies hit a two-run single. Swanson followed with a single that scored Albies from second.
Morton was trailing 1-0 in the second when Herrera hit his third homer, a 431-foot shot that hit the front of Chop House in right field. Herrera added an RBI single in the fourth that cut the lead to 4-2.
The Braves have won seven of eight against Philadelphia at home and are 28-15 against the Phillies since opening Truist Park in 2017.
Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, two-time NL MVP, is 7 for his last 8, which includes three doubles and a home run.
Philadelphia’s poor defense came one night after a wild pitch lifted Swanson, who had doubled up, into third in the ninth inning. Center fielder Roman Quinn followed by claiming a fly ball that bounced off his glove and fell between him and right fielder Nick Castellanos. Swanson scored and Ronald Acuña Jr., who kicked the ball in, scored from second place when Contreras picked him up for the win.
Acuña was scratched with a right quadriceps tightness about 90 minutes into the first pitch. He woke up feeling sore on Wednesday and tested his leg while running on the pitch before deciding not to play. Travis Demeritte took Acuña’s place in the field and hit ninth. Albies took Acuña’s first spot in the batting order.
Phillies manager Joe Girardi defended his decision not to use closer Corey Knebel in the ninth inning loss on Tuesday. Knebel had pitched two days in a row, and Girardi has a policy of not using a reliever three days in a row. He says the risk of injury is too great in a 162-game season.
“I said to him, ‘Look, you threw a bunch of pitches on Sunday, you threw a bunch of pitches on Monday. I appreciate you wanting the ball, but we have a long year, don’t we? Your speed was down a mile or two on the second day. I’m not going to hurt you,” he said. “If you hurt your loved one, those people are hard to replace.”
Braves RHP Kyle Wright (4-2, 2.49 ERA) will face Aaron Nola (1-4, 3.96) as the teams wrap up a four-game series. Wright is 0-2 with a 5.56 ERA in two career starts and one relief appearance against Philadelphia. Nola is 12-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 career starts against Atlanta.
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