Despite a relative offensive explosion in the seventh inning that brought the Braves out of a four-run hole, they were unable to keep that offense going and eventually succumbed to a 7-4 extra-innings defeat at the hands of the Phillies tonight.
Aaron Blair's fourth career start didn't go nearly as well as his first three did, as he ended up exiting after just 77 pitches through 3.2 innings. A lead-off walk to Odubel Herrera was a bad omen for the night, as the Phillies ended up turning that walk into a sacrifice fly from Maikel Franco to make it 1-0 in the top of the first inning.
Blair handed out another lead-off walk in the fourth inning, and once again, it ended up costing him in the immediate future. Ryan Howard may not have delivered yet another home run at Turner Field for the Phillies, but he did end up crossing home plate thanks to Freddy Galvis sending an 88-mph fastball over the right field fence for a two-run dinger that made it 3-0 Philadelphia. After picking up a strikeout and a ground-out, Blair gave up a couple of two-out singles, and that signaled the end of the night for Blair. It was a short outing, and it wasn't sweet, either.
Eric O'Flaherty entered the game in relief in order to face Odubel Herrera, and Herrera proceeded to hit a chopper to second. Kelly Johnson tried to make a spectacular play by flicking the ball out of his glove and to first base. Things went horribly wrong as the ball ended up floating over Freddie Freeman's head and into foul territory. Vincent Velasquez scored on the error to make it 4-0, and the Phillies then had runners on the corners. Fortunately, EOF was able to get the final out of the inning on the very next batter, but the damage had been done.
Until the seventh inning, the only Braves runner to make it past first base was Mallex Smith, and he only made it to second base thanks to stealing second base during the sixth inning. Other than that, Vince Velasquez was in cruise control and it seemed as if he was going take the Phillies cruising right into the winner's circle. But the seventh inning was when the Braves offense suddenly sprang to life.
Freddie Freeman led off the seventh with a single, and after a walk and another single, the bases were loaded with nobody out and Gordon Beckham at bat. Beckham then slapped the first pitch he saw into the left-center gap for a three-run double that put the Braves back into the game. While it might've been a surprise to see Beckham swing at the first pitch he saw, I'm sure that absolutely nobody was shocked to see Jeff Francoeur do it once he came to bat. Frenchy did end up hitting a grounder past the Phillies' infield into right field, and that brought in Beckham to tie the game at 4. The Braves went down with a strikeout and double play immediately afterwards, but the game was now tied and the Braves were right in the thick of it again.
That ended up being the final flurry of offense for either team during the regular nine innings, which meant that we had to have extra frames to decide a winner. Jason Grilli was given the ball to start this inning, and he promptly gave up a triple to Odubel Herrera. Grilli then hit Andres Blanco, and his night was done after he struck out Maikel Franco. Newly-promoted Ian Krol then entered the game, and he struck out the first batter he faced. Suddenly, hope was alive that the Braves could maybe escape this dangerous situation with zero runs allowed. Instead, they ended up leaving the inning with three runs allowed, because Cameron Rupp hit a bases-clearing double to make it 7-4 Phillies. He went 1-5 for the night, but the "1" ended up being a big one for Philadelphia. The Braves went down in order in the bottom of the 10th, and that was that.
So, other than the prolific seventh inning, the Braves offense didn't show much life. However, they showed enough life to extend the game, and ultimately the pitching performance wasn't good enough on the evening to give the Braves a better chance to win.