Winners of three straight, the Phillies were back in action for the series finale against the Atlanta Braves. Zach Eflin was on the mound for his second start since being called up to replace the injured Clay Buchholz. The young right-hander would be supported by the following lineup:
Today's lineup vs. Braves. pic.twitter.com/xeWk2mekK2
— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) April 23, 2017
Eflin was sensational on the mound, as he found himself locked in a pitcher’s duel with Mike Foltynewicz. Eflin did an excellent job of keeping batters off balance, allowing only three hits and one run in seven innings. He was very comfortable on the mound, despite the lack of run support, and has actually been an upgrade over Buchholz.
Eflin’s only run allowed at the top of the seventh inning was instantly matched by the Phils in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single by Freddy Galvis. The real fun however, occurred in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The inning kicked off with a pinch hit double by OF Michael Saunders. Cesar Hernandez, who has been an absolute force at the plate, followed that up with a two-run home run. The homer gave the Phils a 3-1 lead, but they didn’t stop there. Aaron Altherr and Odubel Hernandez flexed their muscles with subsequent solo bombs, making it back-to-back-to-back home runs for the Phillies! The feat marks the first time the Phillies hit three consecutive long balls since June 23, 2008 (Utley, Howard, Burrell) and gave Philly a 5-1 lead.
Following the eventful inning, Hector Neris was called upon to close things out. Neris found himself in a bit of trouble to begin the inning. After walking Freddie Freeman, he allowed a deep RBI single to left center field. A Nick Markakis single gave the Braves two runners on base with no outs and a runner already across in the inning, and it appeared as though the comeback was on. Neris would have none of it, however, and would record the final three outs without allowing another run.
The win marks the fourth in a row for the Phightin’ and pushes them back to .500 at 9-9. They’ll look to keep their winning ways going on Tuesday when they begin the series against the Marlins.
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Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports