Aaron Harang got the best of Alex Wood on Monday night, and an old friend produced the most damage as the Atlanta Braves fell to the Philadelphia Phillies by a final score of 5-2.
In fairness to both starting pitchers, Harang has been the more effective pitcher during the 2015 season, but the former Braves right-hander befuddled Atlanta's lineup on Monday evening. The 36-year-old allowed only one run, on five hits and one walk, across six innings, and when Harang exited, Philadelphia led by a score of 3-1.
The Phillies were able to build that lead completely on the back of Braves left-hander Alex Wood. Though all of the damage came in the first inning, Wood failed to complete five frames, allowing three earned runs on nine (!) hits and two walks. The first-inning damage came on an RBI double by Jeff Francoeur (we'll come back to him) and a two-run single by notorious Braves killer Carlos Ruiz, but even as Wood settled down a bit, he was never terribly effective and the pitch count (90 in 4.1 innings) got away from him.
Though the game wasn't "over" at 3-1 when Harang gave way to the Phillies bullpen, the Braves couldn't produce any considerable threat. Prior to Harang's exit, Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera robbed Jonny Gomes at the wall for what would have been a run-scoring extra-base hit in the sixth, but while the Braves did manage to push a run across in the ninth on an infield single from Nick Markakis, the game ended with a whimper and a three-run defeat.
Offensively, it was an across-the-board struggle for the Atlanta Braves. Andrelton Simmons finished the night with a 2-for-3 performance, but the rest of the lineup was relatively impotent aside from Markakis and Jace Peterson, who both reached base on two occasions. Scoring two runs in a nine-inning game is never fantastic, but when it comes against Aaron Harang and company in a friendly venue, it is increasingly brutal.
For one last punch to the gut, the aforementioned Francoeur produced the biggest night offensively for the Phillies. The former Braves outfielder ended the night with four hits, including an RBI triple in the ninth inning, and it was his first 4-hit game since May 20, 2012. Sometimes, it just isn't your night.
The Braves and Phillies will get together again on Tuesday evening, and the home team will be in search of a more pleasurable result.