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Phillies snap streak against Colon, Braves

April 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin combed through the batter-pitcher matchups hours before Friday night's game against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park and found only limited success against Bartolo Colon.But the Phillies picked up 11 hits and four runs in seven innings against Colon in a 4-3 victory. Colon

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin combed through the batter-pitcher matchups hours before Friday night's game against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park and found only limited success against Bartolo Colon.
But the Phillies picked up 11 hits and four runs in seven innings against Colon in a 4-3 victory. Colon had been 10-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 14 starts against the Phillies the previous three seasons with the Mets. The Phillies had picked up more than six hits against him in just four of those 14 starts. They had never had more than 10, which happened once, in July 2014.
"You know what you're going to get from him," Phillies left fielder Aaron Altherr said. "He's always going to throw that little running fastball and the sinker. You've just got to be ready to hit when it's a strike. He throws a lot of those."
Cesar Hernandez, Altherr and Cameron Rupp led the way with multi-hit games.

"To their credit, they were getting hits off of me and fortunately for me, a lot of those hits didn't necessarily turn into runs," Colon said through an interpreter. "So, I'm grateful that even though they got a lot of hits, we kind of contained them. I definitely wouldn't say I had any bad luck."
Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 1.88 ERA) had another strong start. He allowed three hits, two runs and struck out five in seven innings. He has pitched seven or more innings in back-to-back starts.
The victory snapped the Phillies' seven-game losing streak to the Braves, which dated to July 31. Atlanta has lost four straight since bouncing back from a 1-6 start with five straight wins.
"I feel like we're just a tick away from something really good happening," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It's one of those things where we've just got to keep playing. I don't think we're that far off."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Freddie's solo trot: Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman crushed a solo home run to right field in the sixth inning to cut the Phillies lead to one run. The ball left his bat at 109 mph and travelled a projected 425 feet, according to Statcast™. It was Freeman's seventh home run of the season, but just his ninth RBI.

"That was a good one," Freeman said of the shot that hit the right field's second-level facade. "When you don't really feel it hit the bat, those are good ones. I just need to keep doing that and hopefully do it when guys are on base."
Neris saves it:Hector Neris, who became the Phillies' unofficial closer Thursday, made things interesting in the ninth. He allowed a solo homer to Adonis Garcia to start the inning to cut the Phillies' lead to one.

Seconds later, the teams left the field for a 24-minute rain delay. Once play resumed Neris retired Freeman and Matt Kemp before allowing singles to Nick Markakis and Brandon Phillips to put the tying run at second base. But Neris struck out Tyler Flowers swinging on a splitter to end the game.

"Will I continue to pitch or not?" said Neris, asked what he was thinking during the rain delay.
He wasn't thinking, "Oh, boy, once the rain ends I've got to face Freeman?"
"Nah," Neris said, smiling.
QUOTABLE
"We've got to start doing stuff a little earlier in the game, instead of just in the ninth inning," Freeman said. "We've given teams scares probably three or four times this year and it's always been in the ninth inning. We need to figure out how to start scoring some runs and not waiting until there's just three outs left." -- Freeman
"It's a secret. It'll be a surprise for you guys." -- Neris, on choosing his entrance music.
The Phillies played Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman" as he entered the game because he had not yet selected a song.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Colon induced a miss with just five of the 53 swings taken by the Phillies. Three of those misses occurred within his last two innings, but none were recorded within Philadelphia's first 18 swings. Per Statcast™, Colon entered Friday with a 7.5-percent swinging-strike rate -- 16th-lowest of the 130 pitchers to throw at least 200 pitches this season.
WHAT'S NEXT
Braves: Jaime Garcia will take the mound when this three-game series resumes Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Garcia limited opponents to a .167 batting average on sliders put in play last year, but that mark stands at .529 (9-for-17) through this season's first three starts.
Phillies: Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 2.75 ERA) starts for the Phillies. He has pitched six or more innings in each of his first three starts, but is winless as the offense has scored just three runs for him when he has been in the game.
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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.