Once 0-4, the Braves quickly worked themselves back to .500 after defeating the Phillies 5-4 at Truist Park Saturday. It marks the Braves’ second consecutive series win after taking two of three in Washington. They’ll go for a sweep Sunday, hoping to repay the favor after the Phillies swept them last weekend.

Here are five takeaways from Saturday:

1. It’s hard to start much better than the Braves’ offense did. The first three hitters: Ronald Acuna doubled, Ozzie Albies doubled, Freddie Freeman homered. That was the top of the lineup at its best. There aren’t many, if any, top threes that can make that dynamic trio when they’re clicking.

2. Freeman, the reigning National League MVP, has homered in the past two games. He’s further distancing himself from an 0-for-9 start during the opening series in Philadelphia.

Freeman was responsible for the game-winning RBI in the seventh. With runners at the corners, he hit a chopper to reliever Jose Alvarado, who attempted to turn a double play at second but couldn’t make a throw because no Phillies were covering the base. It allowed Ehire Adrianza, who led off the inning with a double, to score from third. The defensive gaffe wound up determining the final result.

“I talked with (third-base coach) Ron Washington, and he told me any ground ball, I have to score and avoid the double play in that situation,” Adrianza said. “When he got the ball, I thought he was going to second. ... Thank God I scored a run.”

3. Keeping with this season’s theme in Braves-Phillies games, Ian Anderson was hurt by soft contact in the first inning. He allowed three singles and walked one. Didi Gregorius’ single did the damage, scoring two baserunners. His slow start could be somewhat attributed to being amped up for the crowd. It was Anderson’s first time pitching in front of fans at Truist Park.

“It’s awesome to have the fans back in the stadium,” Anderson said. “It’s fun. I got a little taste of it in the playoffs last year (in Arlington), but to play in front of the home fans was something special. It was a good first experience to learn from.”

Caption
Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson delivers. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson delivers. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Caption
Braves starting pitcher Ian Anderson delivers. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

After Gregorius’ hit, Anderson settled in. He retired 13 consecutive hitters, striking out six. But the long ball, which was an issue for him during spring training, spoiled his outing. Andrew McCutchen hit a game-tying homer in the fifth. Bryce Harper homered in the sixth to put the Phillies ahead. A batter later, Anderson was out of the game.

“He got locked in and I think that was as good for him mentally as anything,” manager Brian Snitker said. “He had a nice little run there after that first inning. Real efficient, had things working. It was good to see. It was also good to see that as bad as he struggled in the first inning, you look up and it was only two runs.”

4. The stars were out Saturday and the paying fans were rewarded with a flashy game. Freeman homered. Acuna had two hits. Albies doubled. Dansby Swanson ripped a game-tying RBI double just down the left-field line. Harper homered. McCutchen homered. The recognizable names performed and made for an entertaining back-and-forth.

5. Reliever Sean Newcomb struck again. There’s been plenty of conversation surrounding Newcomb after he struck out the side to finish the Braves’ doubleheader in Washington. Snitker said before the game he could envision Newcomb in more high-leverage moments moving forward, and the southpaw didn’t disappoint Saturday.

Newcomb followed Anderson and allowed one hit over 1-2/3 innings. He looked particularly comfortable in the seventh inning, striking out J.T. Realmuto and McCutchen before getting a soft flyout from Rhys Hoskins to complete a clean frame.

“That’s the Newk that almost threw the no-hitter against the Dodgers,” Freeman said. “Especially with what he did in Washington, he was just throwing the heater 97, 99 (mph). It was beautiful to see. You can see he’s gaining his confidence back again. Every pitch (felt like it had) more and more intent as he went on tonight. Sometimes, the strike three, strike three, strike three he did in Washington is great, but sometimes you need a little trouble and he was able to get out of that. That’s going to be huge for him going forward.”

Caption
Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud and pitcher Sean Newcomb share a smile in the 6th inning. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud and pitcher Sean Newcomb share a smile in the 6th inning. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Caption
Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud and pitcher Sean Newcomb share a smile in the 6th inning. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Stat of the game

3 out of 4 (Freddie Freeman is 4-for-26 this season, yet three of his four hits have been homers. It’s the second time he’s homered three times in the Braves’ first eight games, having also done so in 2017)

Quotable

“Spring training, he was like Babe Ruth.” – Freeman on Ehire Adrianza, who’s continued his strong spring into the regular season with a homer and double the past two nights.

Attendance

14,394. The Braves have welcomed 28,736 fans to Truist Park over the past two nights.

Up next:

Drew Smyly will make his first home start Sunday as the Braves wrap up their series with the Phillies on Sunday Night Baseball. Left-hander Matt Moore will start for Philadelphia.

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