A two-run home run off the bat of Cesar Hernandez gave the Philadelphia Phillies the lead in the eighth inning, as they completed a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with a 5-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Both starting pitchers, Zach Eflin and Mike Foltynewicz, were outstanding, but back-to-back-to-back homers by Hernandez, Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera in the eighth off Braves relievers Arodys Vizcaino and Ian Krol broke a 1-1 tie and made it 5-1 to lift Philly to the sweep.
Foltynewicz turned in his second straight magnificent performance, as he was all but unhittable for the first six innings. In that time, Hernandez was the only Phillie to record a hit, with his single in the third.
Matt Kemp hit an opposite field home run on the first pitch of the seventh inning off Eflin to give Foltynewicz his only run support, but the 1-0 lead would not stand.
Foltynewicz ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh, without allowing a particularly hard-hit ball. Daniel Nava hit a soft liner to center with one out and moved to third when Brock Stassi somehow hit an 0-2 pitch diving in on him into right field for a single. Freddy Galvis tied the game on a soft single to right the following batter.
After a mound visit, Foltynewicz induced a double play grounder from Andrew Knapp to end the inning and eventually his outing. The young righty went seven innings, allowing just four hits, a run and two walks with nine strikeouts.
The reason Foltynewicz’s performance was not enough for him to leave with a lead was his counterpart, Eflin. He faced the Braves last year and threw a complete game. He was nearly as good on Sunday, as he surrendered just three hits and a run in seven innings of work.
Atlanta had something brewing in the eighth after Dansby Swanson singled up the middle off Phillies reliever Pat Neshek. Emilio Bonifacio pinch hit for Foltynewicz and promptly moved Swanson to second with a sacrifice bunt. Ender Inciarte moved him to third on a groundout, but Brandon Phillips struck out to end the threat.
The Braves had another chance in the ninth. Freddie Freeman led off with a walk and scored on Kemp’s single. Nick Markakis singled to right before Adonis Garcia struck out in a pinch hit appearance. After Jace Peterson walked to load the bases, but Swanson popped up and Tyler Flowers grounded out to end the game.
Michael Saunders led off the eighth inning with a double before the cascade of home runs from Hernandez, Altherr and Herrera.
Kemp knocked in the only two runs of the game for Atlanta, as he and Phillips each capped off two-hit days at the plate.
Vizcaino faced three batters and didn’t retire any of them in the eighth. Krol surrendered the homer to Herrera but managed to retire the next three.
After completing a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, the Braves have lost their last six games, sweeps at the hands of National League East rivals Washington and Philadelphia.
The Braves are off Monday before taking aim at the New York Mets for a three-game series beginning Tuesday.