One of those rare occasions where the sequel was better than the original.
Spencer Strider pitched another gem against the Phillies — his career-high 13 strikeouts over 6.2 innings silenced Philadelphia for the majority of this contest. When combined with an explosion of offense from the Braves (with five RBIs coming from Eddie Rosario on Eddie Rosario Bobblehead Night), that was the recipe for a 13-1 blowout victory for Atlanta.
Unlike most Braves victories during this season, this didn’t start off with Atlanta getting out to a quick start before running away with it. Instead, the Phillies were the first ones to draw blood in this game and it came in frustrating fashion in the second inning. With one out and Nick Castellanos at first base, Darick Hall hit a bouncer to Matt Olson and Olson somehow managed to see it bounce out of his reach and into foul territory. Hall’s double scored Castellanos and the Phillies saw themselves in front at that point.
The good times for Philadelphia lasted until the third inning, which is when Atlanta’s bats finally came alive. Michael Harris II got hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and then Ronald Acuña Jr. followed that up by coaxing a walk out of Nick Nelson to put some serious speed on the basepaths. With Nelson’s duties as an opener exhausted for the night, the Phillies went to Conor Brogdon to clean up the mess. While Brogdon did rack up a couple of strikeouts, he sandwiched in a walk to Matt Olson and that meant that it was up to Eddie Rosario to hopefully cash in the bases loaded situation.
This time, it was Philadelphia’s turn to see a deflected ground ball turn into something disastrous. Rhys Hoskins was unable to corral the hot shot from Eddie Rosario and the ball rolled just far enough for both Harris and Acuña to score on what ended up being an infield single. While William Contreras did fly out to end the inning, that ended up being the winning run for Atlanta since the Braves didn’t look back from that point forward. Later on, a Marcell Ozuna double in the very next inning led to a Ronald Acuña RBI single to make it 3-1. Acuña did get thrown out trying to stretch it into a double but hey, at least the run scored before he got thrown out?
Anyways, the real fireworks occurred in the fifth inning. After Dansby Swanson led off the fifth with a single, it seemed like things were going to be a bit underwhelming when the next two batters were retired in order. As it turned out, that was when the beatdown on Corey Knebel began. The next seven Braves batters all reached base safely, with Eddie Rosario getting things started with a double that scored Dansby from second base. After WIlliam Contreras singled, a wild pitch with Marcell Ozuna at the plate made it 5-1 and then Ozuna continued the punishment with a single to make it 6-1. With the game in firm control already, Orlando Arcia delivered the knockout blow with a towering shot to left-center that cleared the fence and made it 8-1 in favor of the home team.
Even though Knebel exited the game after Arcia’s dinger, Mark Appel was unable to completely stop the bleeding. Michael Harris welcomed Appel to the game with a single, Acuña turned it into a scoring chance with a walk and then Dansby capitalized on the opportunity with his second single of the inning that made it 9-1. Appel did eventually get the final out to end the frame, but it may as well have ended the game since this was a major hole for the Phillies to climb out of at this point in the game.
It also didn’t help for Philadelphia’s chances in this one that Spencer Strider’s encore performance against them was even better than the one he had against them in his last outing. In fact, July’s Rookie of the Month got August off to a wonderful start as he pitched 6.2 very good innings where he only gave up three hits and just one walk with the only run coming from the aforementioned double from the second inning.
Other than that frame, Strider was lights out and he finished it in dominating fashion, as he actually went on a six-batter strikeout streak. The final strikeout of that streak was Strider’s 13th of the night, which marked a new career high for him on a night where he also went as deep as he’s ever gone. While he didn’t make it all the way through the seventh inning, everybody’s got to be very happy with yet another good outing from the Rookie of the Year candidate.
The game-breaking fifth inning was essentially all she wrote for this one. Marcell Ozuna clubbed his 19th homer of the season in the seventh inning to make it an even 10 runs and then the Braves added three more in the bottom of the eighth inning. This included Eddie Rosario’s fourth and fifth RBIs of the night and William Contreras driving in a run while grounding into a double play. It was that type of night for the Braves — even when things weren’t optimal, they were still going right for the home team.
Once the smoke cleared, the Braves emerged from the rubble with a huge 13-1 victory over the Phillies. It ended up being a productive day overall — not just with the trade deadline acquisitions but also in the standings, as the Mets suffered a shock defeat to the Juan Soto-less Nationals. This was one of those nights that you love to see; A big win over a divisional rival where everything seems to go right. Hopefully we’ll see more of the same when these two go at it tomorrow afternoon.