For 5.2 innings, things were going pretty well for Atlanta tonight. At that point, Atlanta's offense experienced a renaissance by scoring 4 runs, and Ervin Santana had gotten through 5 innings with not too many problems. Then the wheels fell off, and the Braves eventually found themselves down by a run after being up by 4, and that's how it ended.
The sad thing about tonight (in the midst of a sad, sad month) was that it all started out so great for Atlanta. Again, they had a 4-run lead at one point, and they came out of the gates producing. The first out of the game ended up being a productive out, as Freddie Freeman grounded out to 2nd. This occurred with Ramiro Pena on 2nd base and Phil Gosselin on 3rd, so the ground ball made it 1-0 Braves. The 2nd run of the inning ended up being a milestone moment for Justin Upton, who picked up RBI #100 of the season to make it 2-0. While J-Up got his first 100-RBI season ever, his brother made some ugly history in the next frame. Bad Upton struck out twice tonight, but his first K was a big one, as he broke the Braves' single-season Strikeout Record. B.J.'s 172nd strikeout of the season eclipsed the 171 that Dan Uggla collected last season. I'm sure he's somewhere pointing and laughing at his television as he stretches out his smedium shirt in the process of laughing at Melvin.
Milestones aside, the game had to go on, and things got even better for Atlanta in the 4th inning. After Jason Heyward led off the inning with a double, Chris Johnson came up to bat with 1 out. Jerome Williams tried to fool Johnson with a sinker, but Johnson swatted it into the left field seats for a 2-run homer, his 10th of the season. That made it 4-0, and it seemed like maybe the Braves were actually going to take care of business against a bad team. However, this is September 2014, and from this point forward the Braves showed why we can't have nice things around here.
The bottom of the 5th inning got off to a good start for the Phillies as Cody Asche and Freddy Galvis both got on base with singles. Jerome Williams gave the Braves an out with a sacrifice bunt, then Ben Revere gave the Braves another out, though his wasn't so intentional. The Fielder's Choice play at short was enough of a diversion to allow the runner at 3rd to score, making it 4-1. Ervin Santana made it through the rest of the inning with no problem, and at the time it seemed like Ervin had made it through the rough patch on the night.
Little did we know, the real rough patch would come in the 6th inning. In the top half of the inning, Jason Heyward absolutely crushed a ball to center. Unfortunately, that's one of the only places in that ballpark where crushing a ball doesn't necessarily result in a trip around the bases. Instead, Ben Revere was able to catch up with the deep fly to make a great running catch to rob Heyward of what would have surely been a triple. That ended up being a crucial play for the Phillies considering what happened in the bottom half of the inning.
Things started off innocently enough for Ervin Santana in that half of the inning. After getting both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard for the first two outs of the inning, it seemed like Santana had escaped the meat of the lineup and was ready to saunter into the 7th inning. However, the Howard out ended up being the last out that Santana would record for the night, because things got rocky from there. Marlon Byrd and Dominic Brown reached on singles, and then Byrd was doubled home thanks to Cody Asche. The next scoring play for the Phillies was just downright depressing. Freddy Galvis hit a weak grounder to the 3rd base side, one that Santana was able to field. He flipped the ball to Bethancourt, who somehow managed to miss the tag. Dominic Brown came home to score, and that made it 4-3. That wouldn't be the last costly Santana-to-Bethancourt glitch of this inning, as Cody Asche scored the tying run thanks to a wild pitch. After he somehow managed to walk Grady Sizemore, Ervin Santana got the hook, and what was more-than-likely his final appearance in a Braves uniform ended on a sour note. Chasen Shreve struck out Ben Revere to end the inning, but the damage was done and Atlanta's lead was gone.
Philly's lead became a reality in the bottom of the 7th inning as they managed to push a run past Ol' Hoppy himself, Jordan Walden. With 1 out and 1 man on, Ryan Howard bounced a ball into right field for a double. Marlon Byrd came up to bat next, and his chopper to 2nd base got him out, but it moved Carlos Ruiz from 3rd base to home to give the Phillies the lead. They held that lead going into the top of the 9th, which is when junk-grabber Jonathan Papelbon came on to make the save. Papelbon turned all of those lusty boos from the Philly Phaithful into lovely cheers when he retired our Braves in order to get the save and preserve the victory for the last-place Phillies.
The Braves went into this game with a 54-13 record when scoring 4 or more runs. They're now 54-14, and this awful September continues to get worse. There's only 2 games left, folks. We can make it through this.