Braves pounce, beat Phillies twice

Braves pounce, beat Phillies twice

June 29th, 2014 by Associated Press in Sports - Professional

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher David Hale throws against the Philadelphia Phillies in their second game of a baseball double-header Saturday, June 28, 2014, in Philadelphia.

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

PHILADELPHIA - Justin Upton had two hits and three RBIs, and the Atlanta Braves were helped by two straight Ryan Howard errors in a 10-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.

Tommy La Stella hit a three-run triple and Chris Johnson drove in two runs for the Braves, and then La Stella had two doubles and two RBIs and Ryan Doumit homered in a 5-1 night win for visitors, who have won five of their last six games.

Johnson and Upton added three and two hits and an RBI apiece in the nightcap for Atlanta, while David Hale (3-2) allowed one one run on four hits and a walk in five innings. Cameron Rupp doubled and singled for the Phillies, who have lost seven of nine games.

Tony Gwynn Jr. and Ben Revere each had a pair of hits in the afternoon loss for Philadephia, which has scored three or fewer runs 41 times this season and is 7-34 in those contests. The Phillies also fell to 18-26 at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, where they entered Saturday batting .229 as a team.

Sean O'Sullivan took the night loss in his 2014 big-league debut. He was called up from Class AAA Lehigh Valley for the spot start and lasted 5 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and four runs.

In the afternoon, the Braves' Ervin Santana (6-5) snapped a four-game winless streak after allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk in 6 2/3 innings. Santana had lost his last three starts with a 5.89 ERA in those outings, but he was strong after the first two innings against the Phillies, retiring nine straight during one stretch and surrendering just three hits after the second inning.

Howard made two costly errors in the fourth inning, resulting in two unearned runs that allowed the Braves to tie the game at 2. Freddie Freeman's hard-hit grounder went through Howard's legs, and the error put runners on third and second bases. Upton then hit a medium grounder to first but reached safely when Howard bobbled and then lost control of the ball.

Simmons scored on that error and Freeman, who went to third on the play, then reached on Jason Heyward's groundout to first. Fans gave a sarcastic cheer when Howard made the putout of Heyward.

Atlanta then went ahead in the sixth on Upton's two-run double off the wall in left.

Phillies starting pitcher Roberto Hernandez (3-7) didn't allow a hit through 3 1/3 innings and ended up giving up just three hits in seven innings with two strikeouts and three walks. Two of the four runs he allowed were unearned.

The Braves broke the game open in the eighth when they scored five runs off Antonio Bastardo, snapping an 11 1/3-inning scoreless streak for the Philadelphia bullpen. La Stella had the big blow, a bases-clearing triple that pushed the Atlanta lead to 8-2. It was the first career triple for the rookie La Stella, who had two hits in his last 30 at-bats prior to the hit.

The Phillies jumped in front 2-0. Gwynn snapped an 0-for-23 skid by tripling with one out in the first inning and scored on Howard's single to left. It was Gwynn's first hit since the June 16 death of his Hall of Fame father. Hernandez helped himself in the second inning when he recorded his first career RBI by singling home Koyie Hill.

Atlanta catcher Evan Gattis, who left due to back spasms after striking out in the first inning Friday night, didn't play. His replacement, Gerald Laird, went 0-for-3.

The Phillies and Braves will conclude their four-game series at 1:35 this afternoon with Atlanta's Aaron Harang (6-6, 3.78 ERA) facing Philadelphia's David Buchanan (4-3, 4.79) in a matchup of right-handed starting pitchers.