The Braves faced off against a division rival in Philadelphia, with a soft pitching matchup in Vince Velasquez on Saturday.
Joc Pederson started the game nicely for Atlanta, with a line drive single to center. Ozzie struck out on a pretty abysmal strike three call, but Freddie hit a homer anyway, to give the Braves an early 2-0 lead. Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson struck out to end the inning. Upt to this point the game pretty much fit the pregame scouting report on Velasquez, which was that he gets his strikeouts but gives up a good bit of runs and homers. Smyly worked a scoreless first, despite a Harper double and steal of third. Abraham Almonte paid off his inclusion in the lineup with a solo home run in the second. Heredia drew a walk, but the Braves were unable to bring him home in the second. After another scoreless inning from Smyly, a single from Freeman and a walk from Riley introduced a threat with one out in the third. Dansby doubled down the third base line to score Freddie and Almonte continued his nice inning with a two RBI single to make the score 6-0.
Smyly pitched himself into a huge mess in the top of the fourth, walking the first three batters he faced, but got out of it with a dribbler turned into a double-play and a flyout, resulting in no runs for the inning. After a scoreless top of the fifth from the Braves’ offense, Tomlin came in for the fifth due to what was later announced as left knee pain for Smyly and threw a scoreless frame despite a two-out single. Almonte led off the sixth with a single, but was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Heredia walked and Tomlin reached first trying to sacrifice bunt on a throwing error. A Pederson single brought Heredia home for the Braves seventh run. Ozzie and Freddie each grounded out to stop the damage at one run for that inning.
Tomlin returned to the mound for the sixth and had less success, allowing a leadoff single to McCutchen and a double to Rhys Hoskins that scored McCutchen for Philadelphia’s first run. Tomlin got two outs before Matzek was brought in. Matzek recorded a strikeout to end the sixth and came back out to throw a clean seventh, which was much needed after his post-sticky-stuff struggles.
Heredia led off the eighth by reaching base on an error. Panda struck out but Joc Pederson singled to set up runners on first and third for Ozzie, who hit a ball a long way for a three run homer. Continuing the eighth inning parade, Freeman walked and Riley homered to make it 12-1. Dansby singled, but a Vogt flyout and an Almonte lineout ended the parade there. Luke Jackson was handed the ball in a 12-1 game for...reasons, and did not have his finest outing, with two walks and a single that combined with an error from Albies to score two. In the top of the ninth, singles from Heredia and Adrianza set up Joc Pederson to hit a three run homer, making the score 15-3. Ozzie just missed his second homer of the night by a few feet. Austin Riley singled, but nothing came of it, leaving the score at 15-3 heading to the ninth.
Shane Greene got the ball to close out the rout and worked around a two out walk and a single to end the game 15-3, Atlanta.
The Braves will be back in action tomorrow at 1:05 PM.