Back-to-back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-2 victory and a three-game series sweep of the Atlanta Braves on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.
Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run homer off of Arodys Vizcaino to give the Phillies the lead with no outs in the bottom of the eighth before Aaron Altherr and Odubel Herrera followed up with solo home runs to give the Phillies (9-9) a commanding 5-1 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
The Phillies’ offense came alive in the late innings after only recording one hit in the first six innings of the game.
It seemed like Matt Kemp’s first-pitch home run in the top of the seventh inning was all the Braves and starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz would need, but the Phillies rallied in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game at 1-1.
After Atlanta’s Ender Inciarte robbed Maikel Franco of a single to start the bottom of the seventh inning, Daniel Nava’s single with one out in the bottom of the seventh started the Phillies rally. Brock Stassi pulled a ball through a hole on the right side of the infield to move Nava into scoring position and shortstop Freddy Galvis singled Nava home in the next at bat to tie the game 1-1.
In his second start of the season, Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin stifled the Braves, scattering just three hits over seven innings while allowing one earned run on the aforementioned Kemp homer. Despite the strong outing, Eflin left the game without a decision when he was lifted for Pat Neshek in the top of the eighth inning.
Joely Rodriguez, who has struggled early in the season for the Phillies, was able to get the final two outs of the eighth inning after Neshek allowed Dansby Swanson to get aboard. Rodriguez picked up his first win of the 2017 season and Hector Neris closed things out in the top of the ninth despite allowing a run.
Foltynewicz’s tremendous outing wasn’t enough to get the Braves (6-12) a win. He finished with nine strikeouts while allowing four hits and one run over seven innings but left the game with a no-decision.
NOTES: The Phillies and Braves are both back in action on Tuesday night with first pitches scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Phillies will host the Marlins, while the Braves will head up to New York to open a series with the Mets. … RHP Zach Eflin made just his second start of the season for Philadelphia after Clay Buchholz was placed on the disabled list.