The Braves have made late-innings rallies seem almost routine recently, but they’ve also had trouble finishing the drill, as the football coach in Athens might say.
It happened again Monday, when the Braves scored a tying run in the ninth inning against Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, then lost 6-1 in 13 innings. The Braves failed to score following Freddie Freeman’s one-out triple in the 11th inning, then watched David Hale give up five runs (two earned) in the 13th inning for the second time in three days.
Hale was charged with five runs in the 13th inning of Saturday’s 11-6 loss to the Angels, when the Braves trailed 5-1 before scoring four runs in the ninth inning to force extra innings. The 13th inning was his third inning of work Saturday, but his first inning Monday.
The 13th-inning damage Monday came on up on three hits, three walks, a sacrifice fly and an error by first baseman Freddie Freeman. Two of the walks were intentional, but the walk of relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo with two out certainly was not. Hale also walked a pitcher (C.J. Wilson) in the 13th inning Saturday.
Ryan Howard’s grounder that skipped off Freeman’s glove into right field with one out to drive in the first run. There was a runner at third and Howard was credited with an RBI to go with the solo homer he hit off Julio Teheran in the second inning.
Teheran allowed just four hits and one run in eight innings with six strikeouts, while Phillies starter Cole Hamels allowed five hits in seven innings to reduce his June ERA to a majors-leading 0.30 in four starts. He’s given up no runs while collecting 24 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings over his past three starts.
Struggling Braves reliever David Carpenter left with “biceps discomfort” in his throwing arm after giving up a leadoff single in the 12th, his second inning. He was listed as day-to-day.
The Braves not only failed to score after Freeman’s one-out triple in the 10th, they stranded multiple runners in every inning from the seventh through the 10th. They were going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in that stretch and failed to score after loading the bases with none out in the seventh.
Gattis started a would-be Braves rally in the seventh against Phillies starter Cole Hamels with a leadoff single to extend his hitting streak to 16 games, a franchise record for catchers since at least 1900. The previous record of 15 games was shared by Joe Torre (1967) and Del Crandall (1958).
Justin Upton followed with a double to the left-field corner to put two runners in scoring position, and Hamels nicked the front of Chris Johnson’s left leg with a pitch to load the bases with none out for hot-hitting rookie Tommy La Stella.
La Stella lined out to third base for the first out, leaving it up to No. 8 hitter Andrelton Simmons, who hit a grand slam Tuesday at Colorado. This time Simmons grounded into a double play for the 11th time, second-most in the National League behind teammate Johnson (12).
The Phillies got a leadoff single from Jimmy Rollins against Carpenter in the 11th, but the Braves got a big double play when Carpenter struck out Chase Utley and catcher Gerald Laird, who had just entered the game, rifled a throw to Simmons, who made a slick tag to catch Rollins trying to steal.
Freeman hit an opposite-field fly ball that caromed off the left-field wall for a one-out triple in the 10th, his third hit including a double and a single. After reliever Justin De Fratus intentionally walked Gattis to put runners on the corners with one out, Justin Upton popped out and Johnson struck out to end the 10th.
The Braves trailed 1-0 entering the ninth but faced a Phillies pitcher they like to see, Papelbon. They got to him for three hits and a tying run in the ninth, who struck out Ryan Doumit and Jason Heyward with two on to avoid further damage.
The Braves got singles from Justin Upton and Johnson to start the ninth and scored the tying run on a one-out bloop single by Simmons, who had grounded into an inning-ending double play with bases loaded in the seventh. Papelbon picked up his third blown save in seven opportunities in his past 14 appearances against the Braves. He’s allowed six runs and nine hits in four innings over the past four.
It might be a good time to face the last-place Philadelphia, just not when Hamels is the mound. And for the Braves, not when aging Phillies slugger Howard is off the disabled list.
Howard homered in the second inning and Hamels got out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the seventh, and until Papelbon entered the fray it appeared that would be enough to beat the Braves despite Julio Teheran’s eight strong innings. Teheran allowed one run, four hits and no walks with six strikeouts.
Howard’s homer to straightaway center to start the second inning raised his career-best totals to 45 homers and 123 RBIs in 142 games against the Braves, including eight homers and 16 RBIs in his past 16 games against them. The homer was his 19th in 70 games at Turner Field, seven more than he’s hit anywhere outside Philadelphia.
The Braves also had a pair of two-out singles in the eighth from B.J Upton and Gattis against lefty reliever Jake Diekman, whom the Phillies left in to face slugger Gattis. He has crushed left-handed pitching all season, but Gattis struck out looking to end the inning..
Teheran has a 1.22 ERA in eight home starts, but just a 2-1 home record. He has 51 strikeouts and nine walks in 59 innings at home, but the Braves scored two or fewer runs while he was in five of his past seven home starts.
Hamels has a 2.59 ERA in his past 10 starts against the Braves, allowing two or fewer earned runs in seven of those games.
The only other time the Braves had two runners on base against Hamels was the fifth inning, when La Stella hit a two-out single and Simmons walked before Teheran struck out to end the inning.
The Braves had a runner in scoring position one other time against Hamels, after Freeman doubled with two out in the first inning. Gattis popped out to leave him there.
Johnson had a one-out single in the second inning before La Stella grounded into a double play.
For updated story with postgame quotes, please go to MyAJC.com or use this link