ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson homered for the first time at Turner Field and Matt Kemp delivered a go-ahead, RBI double in the eighth inning, as the Braves extended their winning streak against the Phillies to seven games in Thursday night's 5-2 win.Philadelphia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the
ATLANTA -- Dansby Swanson homered for the first time at Turner Field and Matt Kemp delivered a go-ahead, RBI double in the eighth inning, as the Braves extended their winning streak against the Phillies to seven games in Thursday night's 5-2 win.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the third, when Odúbel Herrera scored Jeremy Hellickson from second base on a bloop single down the left-field line. But Josh Collmenter allowed only a pair of singles across his next 4 1/3 innings en route to his second consecutive quality start.
"It's huge for me. To think, my season was pretty much over a few weeks ago and now to be able to make three starts for the Braves and be a part of what they have going on over here," said Collmenter, who was acquired from the Cubs on Sept. 14. "I think that's four series wins in a row, and we're doing it in multiple ways with close games and blowouts. It's fun to watch."
The Braves' offense, meanwhile, struggled to produce against Hellickson and right-hander Colton Murray, who limited Atlanta to two hits through the first five innings. Then, in his third at-bat of the night, Swanson tied the game at 1 when he led off the sixth with his third career homer. The ball left his bat at an exit velocity of 99 mph and went a projected 378 feet, according to Statcast™.
Two innings later, Swanson drew a leadoff walk, and after Freddie Freeman struck out -- snapping his hitting streak at 30 games and his on-base streak at 46 with an 0-for-4 performance -- Kemp doubled to right field to give Atlanta a lead it wouldn't relinquish and its 10th win in its past 11 games.
"I feel good about our offense," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "Even when we get shut down early in the game, you just kind of feel like the way these guys go about, they don't throw at-bats away. Everybody goes up there and grinds out an at-bat, and most of the time good things have been happening."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early exit: Hellickson's first and possibly only season with the Phillies has been a success, but it ended on a sour note when he left the game in the fourth inning because of a right knee sprain. Leading 1-0, he had allowed only one hit and struck out four in 3 1/3 scoreless innings to that point, turning over the game to the Phillies' struggling bullpen. More >
Jace's game-changing grab: The Phillies appeared destined to push their lead to 2-0 in the fifth, when Freddy Galvis hit a sharp grounder up the middle with Aaron Altherr on second base. But Jace Peterson ranged to his right and made a diving stop. The second baseman quickly gathered himself and peeked over to third base, where Altherr had aggressively rounded the bag, before firing the ball to Rio Ruiz. Altherr got caught in between third base and home, and Anthony Recker ultimately applied the tag at the plate for the final out of the inning.
"It saves us a run," Swanson said about Peterson's play. "If you want to look at it technically, the guy that ended the game would have been the tying run and my home run wouldn't have tied it up. You just look at the complexion of the game, and it was a phenomenal play and it may even get overlooked. Heck of a job on his part."
Gomez out of gas:Jeanmar Gómez had been one of the Phillies' best stories this season, transitioning from middle reliever to closer. But despite 37 saves, he recently lost his job because of struggles. Gomez allowed four runs in the eighth inning with two runs scoring on a ball that went between César Hernández and Tommy Joseph. Both players seemed to think the other would catch it. Regardless, Gomez has a 19.13 ERA (17 earned runs in eight innings) in 12 appearances this month and a 13.20 ERA (22 earned runs in 15 innings) in 19 appearances since Aug. 14.
"It's a shame," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He had such a good year. He almost saved 40 games for us, and he's just not getting the ball down in the zone. That's been his issue. Obviously, closing is a high-leverage situation with a lot of pressure on you. It might have got to him."
Dansby's dinger: With his homer, Swanson continues to show he's slowly adjusting to facing Major League pitching. All three of the shortstop's home runs have come since Sept. 6. During that span, the 22-year-old has batted .354 (23-for-65) with eight extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and 14 runs. More >
"I think the umpire says, 'Play ball,' and our guys are expecting to win right now. We're going to go out there and win the game somehow. It's kind of what they've been doing. It's just lay in the weeds for seven or eight innings, and they just keep grinding away and putting up good at-bats. Plays like Jace made and Dansby made the other day, they're laying out and giving us a chance to come back in those games." -- Snitker, on the Braves' recent hot streak
"It's a bad time to be in a rut, and we're in a rut." -- Mackanin, on the Phillies' 1-6 road trip. The pitching staff allowed 68 runs in the seven games.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Phillies finished 82-91 lifetime at Turner Field.
Phillies: It will be Ryan Howard Weekend at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies open a three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday against the Mets. It will be Howard's final three games with the Phillies, and he is expected to start each of them. The season concludes on Sunday with a pregame ceremony honoring him.
Braves: Atlanta will open its final series at Turner Field at 7:35 p.m. ET on Friday, when Matt Wisler starts the first of a three-game Interleague set against the Tigers. The right-hander has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts since returning from Triple-A Gwinnett. He hasn't allowed a homer since Aug. 31 against the Padres.
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Pat James is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta and covered the Braves on Thursday.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.