EditorsNote: Fixes in lede, 4th, 5th and 6th grafs
Cesar Hernandez drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning to spark Philadelphia to a 3-0 win over visiting Atlanta on Saturday and enable the Phillies to snap a nine-game losing streak.
The outburst was enough to give the win to starting pitcher Aaron Nola (17-6). The right-hander fired seven shutout innings, allowing two hits and four walks. He struck out eight.
Atlanta (90-71) does not yet know its first-round playoff opponent, but it will be the winner of the National League West: either the Colorado Rockies or Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Phillies’ winning rally started against reliever Jonny Venters (5-2), who walked Jose Bautista, couldn’t handle Scott Kingery’s bunt single and intentionally walked Wilson Ramos with one out. Hernandez shot the first pitch he saw up the middle, just out of the range of shortstop Charlie Culberson. Odubel Herrera got the third run home with an infield grounder.
Nola finished the season with 224 strikeouts. He is the first Phillies player since 2013 to fan 200 batters. Nola evened his record against the Braves at 2-2 in 2018 and improved to 7-3 against Atlanta for his career.
Hector Neris pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Seranthony Dominguez worked a scoreless ninth to earn his 15th save in 19 opportunities for Philadelphia (79-82).
Dominguez, who has pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his career against Atlanta, walked Nick Markakis with one out and worked around an error to finish the game.
Atlanta starter Anibal Sanchez pitched six scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and three walks and struck out seven.
Sanchez has been productive in five September starts. He allowed seven runs in 28 innings during that span, a 2.25 ERA. He has not given up more than three runs since Aug. 14.
Atlanta’s best opportunity to score came in the second inning when the Braves began the frame with two walks and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Sanchez struck out.
—Field Level Media