By GEORGE HENRY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Kurt Suzuki wishes his newfound home run swing had more significance.
“It would’ve been cool if this was a playoff push,” he said. “It’s not that type of situation, but you still have to be a professional and go out there every night, grind out at-bats, play hard and see what happens.”
Suzuki homered twice, Nick Markakis drove in three runs and the Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2 on Friday night.
Sean Newcomb (4-8) won his second straight start, allowing two runs, four hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings.
Suzuki, who shares the Atlanta catcher’s job with Tyler Flowers, hit his career-high 18th homer in the seventh and has 14 homer and 28 RBIs in 38 games since the start of July. It was Suzuki’s fifth career multihomer game and third this year.
Suzuki, who totaled 16 homers from 2014-16 with Minnesota, had never hit more than 15 home runs in a season, reaching that total with Oakland in 2009.
“He’s right on everything,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “On every swing it seems like he just misses a pitch if he doesn’t hit it out.”
Atlanta scored five runs in the first off Ben Lively (3-7) on Ozzie Albies’ RBI single, Markakis’ two-run single and Suzuki’s two-run homer . Markakis’ run-scoring single made it 6-0 in the second.
Newcomb allowed one runner through the first three innings and gave up his first hit in the fourth, when Cesar Hernandez doubled leading off and scored on Nick Williams’ sacrifice fly. Williams’ RBI single in the sixth chased Newcomb.
Newcomb has a 3.86 ERA in his last six starts.
“The thing the kid’s got is a fastball, and he can throw it in fastball counts to good hitters,” Snitker said. “They don’t see it. It jumps on them, and there’s more in there. I still think once he gets his feet on the ground and really has the belief, you’ll see more out of him.”
Lively (3-7) gave up six runs, eight hits and two walks in five innings.
“I was trying to find my fastball early in the game,” Lively said. “The big part of my game is the fastball and it doesn’t help when the fastball is staying toward the middle.”
Snitker, who has a one-year contract with a team option for 2018, wants to return for a second full season but he doesn’t know what the front office will bring him back. Snitker is 127-148 in 1½ seasons. The 61-year-old has worked 41 years for the Braves, including 20 as a minor league manager and 11 on the Atlanta coaching staff. He can’t imagine working for another team. “This has been my life,” he said. “It’s going to be hard to think about being somewhere else.”
Odubel Herrera went 0 for 4, grounding out with the bases loaded in the eighth and ending a 16-game hitting streak against Atlanta. Herrera hit .409 with five homers, eight doubles, two triples and 14 RBIs during the streak. He began the night 12 for 24 in six games at SunTrust Park.
Williams, who debuted on June 30, has 52 RBIs in 75 games, including 22 RBIs in 22 games this month. … Braves LHP A.J. Minter faced four batters in the seventh and has not walked a batter in 12 big league appearances. Minter has struck out 15 of his last 29 batters.
Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz won’t make his scheduled start Monday because of a cut finger. Snitker said Foltynewicz might not pitch again this season.
Phillies: RHP Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 7.20 ERA) is to make his second start of the season and ninth in his career against Atlanta on Saturday. He is 1-4 with a 5.70 ERA against the Braves.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (11-12, 4.52 ERA) will try to win for the fifth time in his last six starts. He is 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 17 starts and one relief outing against Philadelphia.