PHILADELPHIA -- Ozzie Albies' name did not stay atop the National League home run leaderboard for long. But his impressive night helped keep the Braves in first place in the NL East.Albies hit his 14th homer of the season and scored all three Braves runs in a 3-1 win over
PHILADELPHIA -- Ozzie Albies' name did not stay atop the National League home run leaderboard for long. But his impressive night helped keep the Braves in first place in the NL East.
Albies hit his 14th homer of the season and scored all three Braves runs in a 3-1 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Brandon McCarthy kept the Phillies' bats quiet as the Braves stretched their division lead back to 1 1/2 games.
Albies took Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez deep on the first pitch he saw in the third inning, turning a hanging curveball into a 366-foot homer to right field. The home run briefly tied him with Bryce Harper of the Nationals for the most in the NL -- until Harper went deep in the fifth against the Padres in Washington.
Mookie Betts (16), Manny Machado (15) and J.D. Martinez (15) are the only other players in baseball with more home runs than the Braves second baseman.
"He's done a great job. He has a lot of confidence," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Albies. "He's so strong, and has that bat speed. He can do a lot of things to help you win a game."
Albies also homered off Velasquez on April 29, when he started a Braves win with a solo shot on the first pitch of the game. April 29 marked the start of Albies as the Braves' everyday leadoff hitter, and he showed why he's so valuable in that role Tuesday, scoring each time he got on base. He drew a leadoff walk in the fifth and scored on a throwing error by Carlos Santana. Albies then helped the Braves get some insurance in the ninth.
He singled against Edubray Ramos, got to second on a passed ball and scored thanks to a great read when Ronald Acuna Jr. blooped a single to center.
"When the ball came off the bat, I was sure I was going to go for home plate, because we needed that run," Albies said.
McCarthy did not need a lot of run support. The veteran righty picked up his fourth win in as many starts this season against the Phillies -- and fifth win overall -- allowing just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings.
McCarthy has pitched into the sixth inning in all four of his starts against the Phillies, allowing two runs or fewer in each. He has a 2.08 ERA against the Phillies this season and a 6.53 ERA in his other six outings.
"By the fourth time through, especially in a short span, there are no more surprises," said McCarthy. "They know where the ball is going. They know how I'm going to get it there. You just have to make sure you execute and try to beat them at what they're trying to do. There are no secrets at that point."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
McCarthy gets Hoskins: None of McCarthy's five strikeouts were bigger than the one he had to end the fifth inning. The Phillies had just scored their first run of the game and were still threatening with two runners on and Rhys Hoskins at the plate. With runners on second and third after a wild pitch, McCarthy got Hoskins to chase a 1-2 cutter out of the strike zone and keep the Braves' lead intact.
Leaving them loaded: The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning but came away without a run. Dansby Swanson, Ryan Flaherty and McCarthy all struck out swinging against Velasquez. The right-hander had nine strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
HE SAID IT
"I was thinking I had zero chance against Velasquez in that at-bat. It's bases loaded, you can try to do something. Then you realize you can do nothing. I'm just here for decoration." -- McCarthy, who struck out on Velasquez's 94 mph fastball in the fourth inning
Luiz Gohara will be making his first start of the season as the Braves close a three-game set in Philadelphia on Wednesday night at 7:05 ET. Gohara, a 21-year-old lefty, has made three relief appearances for the Braves this season, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings. Jacob Arrieta will start for the Phillies.
Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.