Atlanta's struggles continued on the road as the Braves' comeback fell one run short, losing 5-4 to Philadelphia Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. Paul Maholm was hit hard, allowing nine hits and five runs (four earned) in six innings of work.
An Atlanta error got the scoring going in the bottom of the first as Chase Utley doubled with one out, and Jimmy Rollins beat a throw from Andrelton Simmons for an infield single. Ryan Howard followed with a grounder to first that Freddie Freeman promptly tossed into left field as he attempted to start a double play. His error allowed Utley to score and gave the Philies a 1-0 lead.
Homers from Humberto Quintero (two-run shot in the second) and Howard quickly increased Atlanta's deficit to 4-0 after three innings. Quintero's homer looked like it could have been fan interference, but it wasn't ruled that way.
Before Howard's homer, things got interesting in the top of the third with Gerald Laird at the plate. The portly catcher disagreed with umpire Angel Hernandez' strike three call, and selfishly went ballistic arguing and got ejected. For a player who had complained recently about not getting playing time, Laird sure didn't take advantage of the start. It also ruined an off night for Brian McCann.
Quintero struck again in the bottom of the sixth inning, as his double to right was just enough to bring home Delmon Young to make it a 5-0 game.
After six shutout innings, Cliff Lee ran into trouble in the seventh. A hit-by-pitch and a single put runners on first and second for Dan Uggla, who launched his 15th home run of the season to left to make it a 5-3 game. Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly four batters later scored McCann to cut the game to 5-4.
That's as close as it would get as Justin Upton struck out with two outs and runners on first and second to end the seventh. Jonathan Papelbon finished things off in the ninth for his 18th save of the season.