The Atlanta Braves are, suddenly, looking like an explosive offensive club, at least in the short term. After a 9-run output in a win on Tuesday evening, the Braves scored seven runs against the Phillies in the follow-up, and that was enough to secure a victory and a series win by the final score of 7-5.
While the lineup has changed throughout the season, things have stabilized a bit with the same group in the top three spots, and that trio led the way on Wednesday evening. Andrelton Simmons, hitting in the number two spot for the fourth straight game, produced a 3-for-4 night that included a home run in the first inning, and he scored three of the team's seven runs. Elsewhere, Freddie Freeman went 3-for-4 while driving in three runs, and Nick Markakis continued his strong start to the season with two hits to raise his on-base percentage to .390 for the campaign.
Aside from the top of the order, Jace Peterson (2-for-3, 2 runs scored) was the only regular who produced an above-average evening. Still, the production from Markakis, Simmons and Freeman proved to be enough.
Mike Foltynewicz, making his second Major League start, cruised through five innings with little trouble. The powerful right-hander allowed only one run during that time, and for his trouble, Fredi Gonzalez allowed Foltynewicz to hit for himself in the fifth inning. "Folty" did help himself with a sacrifice fly at the plate, but it proved to be a mistake to allow him to remain in the game.
Fortunately, it didn't matter on this night, but Foltynewicz allowed a home run to Braves-killer Ryan Howard to lead off the sixth, and after letting two additional runners reach base, he was pulled in favor of Cody Martin. Martin and Luis Avilan allowed two additional runs in the inning, but Atlanta's cushion was large enough to sustain that blip, and that proved to be valuable.
Once the sixth was in the books, the Phillies never truly threatened. Philadelphia did generate a run against Jason Grilli in the ninth, but the Braves closer put things away thanks to his significant cushion, and the better team managed to escape with a series win despite dropping the opener on Monday.
The Atlanta Braves have an off day on Thursday before traveling to the nation's capital to face the Washington Nationals on Friday. When they take the field in DC, the team will be sitting with a .500 record at 14-14, and at the moment, that mark is good for second place in the NL East. What a world.