Inciarte sizzles as Braves sweep Phillies
PHILADELPHIA — When Ender Inciarte strolled to the plate to open the second game of a doubleheader against the Phillies, he was trying to avoid thinking about the terrific performance at the plate he had just enjoyed in the opener.
“I wasn’t trying to swing at everything I saw,” Inciarte said.
But when the first pitch out of Mark Leiter Jr.’s hand was a fastball down the middle, Inciarte had no choice but to swing. And when he laced yet another base hit, Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker knew his outfielder was in for a special day.
“We’re all like, (he’s) not done yet,” Snitker said. “Big day for him.”
Inciarte’s hot bat led the way as the Braves finished off a doubleheader sweep of the Phillies with a 5-2 win at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon.
After collecting a career high-tying five hits in the first game of the day, Inciarte kept his personal momentum rolling right into the nightcap.
A leadoff single by Inciarte to open the game became a 1-0 lead, after the center fielder stole second and came around to score on a Matt Kemp double. Inciarte added an RBI single in the fourth inning to put the Braves up 3-1.
He finished the doubleheader going 8-for-10 with seven singles and a triple, scoring two runs and adding five RBIs while also stealing two bases.
“It was fun,” he said. “You come here just thinking you’re going to play two games and try to get on base for your teammates, and end up having a really good day.”
Julio Teheran (9-11) earned the win for the Braves (59-72), holding the MLB-worst Phillies (49-83) to five hits and one run (earned) in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out eight to win his second outing in a row.
The Braves had lost all of their previous eight games at Citizens Bank Park this season prior to the doubleheader sweep.
“To come in here today and have not won a game all year, it’s nice to get the two,” Snitker said.
They had to survive a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning, when Arodys Vizcaino struck out Cameron Rupp to end the threat.
Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson added RBI hits in the ninth inning to make it a 5-1 game.
The Phillies got one back in the bottom of the ninth when Hyun-soo Kim scored on an Andres Blanco sacrifice fly.
Leiter Jr. (2-4) took the loss for the Phillies, giving up three earned runs on nine hits spread over 6 2/3 innings. The rookie right-hander was far from ineffective, throwing 70 of his 102 pitches for strikes, but couldn’t get any support from an offense that was quiet for all 18 innings on Wednesday.
“This is what we have and we have to make the most of it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “We have a lot of young players feeling their way out there and taking their lumps and we have to help them through it.”
That included playing normal starting shortstop Freddy Galvis in center field for the first time in his career.
“Freddy is unique, he can play anywhere,” Mackanin said. “He knows what he’s doing.”
The Braves took the opener 9-1, tallying 15 hits in the offensive outburst to set the tone for a day in which they collected 28.
One of those hits was the 2,000th to come off the bat of Brandon Phillips, who became the 12th active hitter to reach the milestone with an RBI single in the first inning of the opener. He’s the second member of the Braves to get there this month, joining Nick Markakis, who hit No. 2,000 back on Aug. 4.
Making it even more special for Phillips was the fact his mother, Lue, was in the stands to surprise her son, holding up a sign to celebrate his milestone.
“I’m going to get on my mom for doing that,” Brandon Phillips joked. “It feels good to look up there and see my mom in the stands, that’s a beautiful woman right there. For her to support me, there’s nothing better than that.”
NOTES: The Phillies next head to Miami to start a three-game series against the Marlins. RHP Ben Lively (1-5, 4.36 ERA) faces Marlins RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (0-1, 3.70) in the opener on Friday night. ... The Braves continue their seven-game road trip with a four-game series in Chicago against the Cubs. Atlanta LHP Sean Newcomb (2-7, 4.36) gets Chicago RHP Kyle Hendricks (5-4, 3.45 ERA) in the opener Friday night. ... The Braves called up RHP Jason Hursh from Triple-A Gwinnett as the extra man for this game. The Phillies called up RHP Ricardo Pinto from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... Prior to the first game, Atlanta placed C Tyler Flowers on the 10-day disabled list (left wrist contusion) and selected the contract of C David Freitas from Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Enrique Burgos was designated for assignment from Triple-A Gwinnett and removed from the 40-man roster.