Braves surrender five homers in loss to Phillies

Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) walks towards the dugout after being removed during the fifth against the Philadelphia inning at Truist Park on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Atlanta. 
Miguel Martinez /

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright (30) walks towards the dugout after being removed during the fifth against the Philadelphia inning at Truist Park on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023, in Atlanta.  Miguel Martinez /

The Braves returned to Atlanta to begin their second-to-last homestand of the regular season Monday, but they lost 7-1 to the Phillies. It marked their fourth consecutive loss – tying a season-high – since clinching the division.

Here are five takeaways from Monday:

1. All-Star second baseman Ozzie Albies blasted a solo shot off Phillies ace Zack Wheeler in the first inning. It was his 31st home run, setting a new career high. His total also leads all primary second basemen.

Yet Albies ranks fifth on his own team in homers behind first baseman Matt Olson (52), outfielder Ronald Acuña (37), third baseman Austin Riley (36) and designated hitter Marcell Ozuna (35). The Braves have hit 289 home runs, meaning they need 19 across the final 12 games to set the MLB record.

2. Wheeler will be the Phillies’ workhorse again this postseason. After surrendering three homers against the Braves in his last outing, he fared much better this time. The Smyrna native allowed no runs beyond Albies’ swing. He held the Braves to one run on three hits over six frames.

“He’s a rough ride,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We scored some runs off of him the last time out, but he can go up in the zone, has a good breaking ball, the sinker, he’s what they look like.”

With how the postseason bracket is currently arranged, there’s a real chance the Braves and Phillies meet again in the National League Division Series. Wheeler versus the Braves’ offense would be among the most important elements of that series.

3. In his second start since returning from a lengthy stint on the injured list, Braves righty Kyle Wright didn’t get favorable results but felt he’d progressed from his first outing. He allowed four runs on five hits in four innings. He surrendered three homers while walking four hitters.

In his first two starts back – both against Philadelphia – Wright has allowed 10 earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings. He’s struck out eight, walked six and given up three home runs in that time. Still, these are almost like spring-training outings, chances for Wright to build himself back and help the team when it matters most. He threw 78 pitches Monday after throwing 62 in his first game back.

Wright should make two more starts before the postseason, during which he’d be a candidate to join the team’s bullpen for the best-of-five NLDS.

“When I got hurt the first time, that’s been my goal: to get back and be a weapon for us in the postseason,” Wright said. “I definitely put added pressure on myself, which – it was my goal, so I have to be better, try to capitalize on that. I still think there’s an opportunity to do so. Just keep working.”

4. The previously unknown Michael Tonkin has been an instrumental piece of the Braves’ bullpen. Snitker even said Tonkin might be their pitching MVP just two weeks ago. But he’s regressed in recent outings.

Since a pair of scoreless appearances at Dodger Stadium to begin September, Tonkin has allowed at least one run in each of his past five outings. In those 7-1/3 innings, he’s allowed nine runs on nine hits, including four home runs. He gave up two of those homers Monday, allowing three runs.

Snitker, asked about Tonkin, didn’t express concern.

“I still feel like he threw pretty good,” Snitker said. “He’s done a really good job. It was huge (Monday) covering those (three) innings he did. Huge. I think he’s fine right where he’s at.”

5. The Braves have wrapped up the NL East, but they’re still trying to secure the No. 1 seed. Their four consecutive losses have helped tighten that race, as the Dodgers entered the day just 4-1/2 games back (they were facing the Rockies on Monday night). The American League-best Orioles entered Monday three games behind the Braves for MLB’s best record.

Thanks to old friend Adam Wainwright, the Braves did clinch homefield advantage in the NLDS on Monday. Wainwright, a Brunswick native and former Braves prospect, earned his 200th career win when his Cardinals defeated the NL Central-leading Brewers, helping the Braves in the process.

Stat to know

5 (Braves pitchers surrendered five home runs Monday, including a 483-foot blast to Kyle Schwarber that was the second-longest homer in Truist Park history, bested only by Acuña’s 495-footer.)


“It’s infuriating.” – Wright on his season being interrupted by injury

Up next

Righthander Spencer Strider (17-5, 3.73) will face lefty Cristopher Sanchez (2-4, 3.40) as the Braves and Phillies continue their series.