Bullpen falters again as Braves fall to Phillies 4-3 in extra innings – Talking Chop

Ian Anderson and Zack Wheeler locked up in a pitchers’ duel but the Atlanta Braves’ bullpen faltered again in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in 10 innings.

The Braves needed a great performance from Ian Anderson and he delivered. Anderson walked Odubel Herrera to begin the game and needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning. He settled in from there, allowing just four hits to go along with four strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. After that 26-pitch first inning, Anderson needed just 72 pitches to navigate the final six innings.

The problem for Atlanta was that Zack Wheeler was even more dominant. The Braves didn’t get their first hit, a check swing single by Kevan Smith, until the third inning. Dansby Swanson led off the fifth with a single but a strikeout and a liner double play erased the threat. After striking out the side in the sixth, Wheeler allowed a lead off single to Freddie Freeman in the seventh. A wild pitch got Freeman to second, but Wheeler struck out Swanson to leave him stranded. Wheeler tossed eight scoreless while allowing four hits and striking out 12. It was as good a performance as you will see.

Herrera connected on a one-out double off of A.J. Minter in the eighth and then came around to score as Juan Segura grounded one down the line that got under Austin Riley’s glove for a double to make it 1-0. Minter got Bryce Harper to fly out for the second out and then gave way to Edgar Santana. A passed ball allowed Segura to move over to third but Santana got Rhys Hoskins to pop out to end the frame.

Hector Nerris struck out Ronald Acuña Jr. to start the ninth but Freddie Freeman worked the count full and then homered to straight away center field to tie the game.

Neris then issued a free pass to Ozzie Albies who moved up to second on a stolen base, but Austin Riley struck out for the second out. A wild pitch moved Albies to third but Swanson popped up to end the inning.

Luke Jackson retired the first two hitters in the ninth but then walked Andrew Knapp to prolong the inning. Jackson recovered and got pinch-hitter Brad Miller to ground into the shift to send the game to extras.

Swanson began the 10th as the Braves’ designated runner and moved over to third on a ground out by Abraham Almonte. Jose Alvarado then walked pinch-hitter Guillermo Heredia to put runners at the corners. Alvarado fell behind 2-0 to Smith and then uncorked a wild pitch which allowed Swanson to score to give the Braves a 2-1 advantage.

Alvarado walked Smith but recovered to strike out pinch hitter William Contreras for the second out. He then issued another walk to Acuña that loaded the bases for Freeman. Alvarado then got ahead 1-2 in the count but then tossed another wild pitch that allowed Heredia to score to extend Atlanta’s lead to 3-1.

Alvarado then got Freeman to ground to first to end the inning. The Braves plated two runs in the inning thanks to three walks and two wild pitches.

Things of course wouldn’t be easy for the Braves as Chris Martin took over on the mound for Atlanta in the 10th while Rafael Marchan began the inning as the Phillies’ designated runner. Marchan moved over to third on a passed ball and then came in to score on a single by Alec Bohm to cut the deficit to 3-2. Herrera followed with a double to put runners at second and third with no one out. Martin then hung an 0-1 breaking ball to Segura who drove it off the wall in center to score Bohm and Herrera to give the Phillies another walk-off win.

Another tough loss for the Braves who are now 29-31. They will continue their road trip on Friday when they will open a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

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