PHILADELPHIA -- Jerad Eickhoff reverted back to the game plan that got him in trouble his last start in Atlanta, but he faced no such problems Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.Sticking to his fastball-curve combo, Eickhoff went seven shutout innings in a Phillies' 5-0 win to avoid a series
PHILADELPHIA -- Jerad Eickhoff reverted back to the game plan that got him in trouble his last start in Atlanta, but he faced no such problems Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Sticking to his fastball-curve combo, Eickhoff went seven shutout innings in a Phillies' 5-0 win to avoid a series sweep for the first time since Philadelphia lost four straight to open the season. Though the Braves claimed their second series win of the season, this shutout loss denied their bid to split a 10-game trip that also included stops in Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
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"The biggest thing was the fastball command," Eickhoff said. "I had plans to do some other things, honestly, early on. But my command was so good that I kind of just stuck with the fastball."
Where Eickhoff was efficient, Braves starter Casey Kelly was the opposite. Called up from Triple-A Gwinnett to make a spot start, he hit two Phillies and threw another wild pitch to the backstop. He left after five innings having allowed three Philadelphia runs.
"We just couldn't get anything going offensively," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I thought [Kelly] did a really good job of keeping us in the game."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Power surge: Two Friday night doubles had amounted to all the extra-base hits the Phillies had this series entering Sunday's finale. But Odubel Herrera set the tone against Kelly, doubling on a liner to left-center to lead off the game. Cameron Rupp followed the next inning with a solo shot, and the Phils added a pair of three-baggers. They tripled twice in a game for the first time this season and recorded more than three extra-base hits for the eighth time in 44 games. Philadelphia hadn't scored five runs since May 12, and Sunday marked only the ninth time this season it's scored five or more in a game.
"It was good to see the guys get some hits," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Yesterday two hits, today, what, 13? … We swung the bats pretty good today."
So-so audition: When the Braves promoted Kelly to make this start in place of Aaron Blair, who was optioned to Gwinnett on Wednesday, they were encouraged by the groundball rate he had recently produced. But the Phillies lifted flyballs for each of the first five balls put in play and encountered little trouble against the right-hander, who hit two batters in the fourth inning and uncorked a wild pitch before exiting at the end of the fifth.
Snitker did not commit to Kelly making another start when his turn comes again on Saturday. Gwinnett's Tyrell Jenkins and Blair would be other options.
"I didn't have my best stuff today," Kelly said. "I wish I could have gone out there and done better for the guys. They're playing [great] defense behind me. They called me up to win games, and it just didn't get done today."
Eickhoff spins a gem: Just two starts ago, Eickhoff faced the Braves in Atlanta and experienced far different results. It took him 76 pitches, only to get knocked out after 4 1/3 innings, giving up four runs. On Sunday, his fastball velocity was down from his bounceback outing against Miami, and he rarely touched his slider or changeup, but it took him only nine more pitches to get through seven than it did 4 1/3 last time against Atlanta. He blanked the Braves for seven innings, striking out three.
"He was locating his fastball," Mackanin added. "He was really efficient early in the game. He threw a lot of pitches those last two innings, but I liked the command of his fastball." More >
Silent offense: Though the Braves recorded their first series win in more than a month, their bid to notch their second three-game sweep of the season ended as their offense could not compensate for the damage incurred by Kelly. Atlanta recorded a season-high three home runs during Friday night's series opener but was limited to two runs over the final 18 innings of this three-game set.
"Eickhoff had some good stuff today," Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "He had the fastball working on both sides of the plate, and the real big curveball that was real sharp today. It was a good start from Casey. He kept us in the game. We just didn't come up with the big hit for him."
Braves: Atlanta will enjoy an off-day on Monday and then begin a three-game series against the Brewers on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Julio Teheran, who has posted a 1.15 ERA over his past six starts, will take the mound for the series opener against the Brewers. .
Phillies: Philadelphia heads to Detroit for its first series in an American League ballpark this season. The Phils swept Cleveland at home in their only other Interleague matchup thus far. Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.42) faces Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 5.49) in the series opener Monday.
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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Sunday.