Donaldson stays hot as Braves overwhelm Phillies 15-1
ATLANTA (AP) — A mid-June NL East clash between the Phillies and Braves provided clarity for each team.
The Braves gained confidence, with manager Brian Snitker concluding “We’re putting it all together.”
The Phillies were left to acknowledge the lack of depth in their rotation.
Josh Donaldson homered for the third straight game , Mike Foltynewicz allowed only one run in six innings and Atlanta beat Philadelphia 15-1 on Sunday to win the three-game series and solidify their NL East lead.
The Braves, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped with a 6-5 loss to the Phillies on Saturday night, won two of three in the series. Atlanta leads Philadelphia by 2½ games in the NL East.
Donaldson said he liked the fight the Braves showed in the series, including in their response to Saturday night’s loss.
“We know how good of a team they are,” Donaldson said. “They know how good of a team that we are. … It was big for us to come back the first night and win and also big for us to come back today … and get the series win.”
The Phillies tried to use a bullpen committee headed by Vince Velasquez for the fifth spot in the rotation, and the results were ugly. Atlanta outhit Philadelphia 19-6.
“A lot of work to do, a lot of discussions to have,” said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. “No doubt about it, we have to be better.”
Donaldson’s two-run homer in the third off Cole Irvin gave the Braves a 5-0 lead. Donaldson had three hits for the second straight game.
“When he gets it going, he’s that type of guy who can carry you,” said Snitker, who called Donaldson’s bat speed “unbelievable.”
The Braves piled on with five runs in the seventh, when Tyler Flowers hit a two-run homer and Ronald Acuña Jr. also homered off Jerad Eickhoff.
Foltynewicz (2-5) walked five batters but allowed only four hits with six strikeouts. He entered the game with a 6.02 ERA, including a 6.75 mark in his past three starts.
Velasquez (2-4) lasted 2 1/3 innings in his first start since May 6. The right-hander allowed four runs and four hits. Irvin, the left-hander recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the game, gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings.
“Whether we have a fifth starter or we don’t, we should all be capable of putting up zeroes and being the next guy,” Irvin said. “It’s an embarrassing way to end the series.”
Atlanta led 7-0 before Bryce Harper’s run-scoring single to left field gave Philadelphia its only run in the fifth. Austin Riley bobbled the ball in left field, allowing Harper to advance to second. Irvin, who walked, was held at third base. Foltynewicz recovered by striking out Scott Kingery and Rhys Hoskins to strand the runners on second and third.
Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies hit two-run doubles.
Phillies: OF Jay Bruce was held out with left hamstring tightness. Bruce is not expected to miss significant time. … C J.T. Realmuto also was left out of the starting lineup. He left Saturday night’s game feeling nauseous after hit by a foul tip in his groin area.
Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb is expected to avoid the IL after being hit on the back of the head by Realmuto’s line drive and knocked out of Saturday night’s game. Newcomb had no concussion symptoms on Sunday. “We’re fortunate we dodged a bullet there,” Snitker said.
In addition to recalling Irvin, the Phillies activated right-hander Pat Neshek from the injured list. Neshek was placed on the injured list on May 25 with a right shoulder strain. Right-hander Edgar Garcia and left-hander Ranger Suarez were optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
HOMER A DAY
Donaldson homered in every game of the series, his first three-game streak since Sept. 15-17, 2017. He had a career-best, four-game stretch from May 25-29, 2015.
Phillies utility infielder Sean Rodriguez retired the Braves in order in the eighth, his first career pitching performance. Braves rookie right-hander Huascar Ynoa , called up on Saturday, made his major league debut with two scoreless innings.
Phillies: RHP Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31) will face LHP Patrick Corbin when the Phillies open a four-game series at NL East rival Washington on Monday night.
Braves: Rookie Mike Soroka (7-1, 1.92), who is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two starts against the Mets, will face Zack Wheeler (5-4, 4.87) when Atlanta opens a three-game series against New York on Monday night.
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