The drought is over.
The Braves scored three times in the second inning and went on to a 7-4 victory over the Phillies Wednesday afternoon at Turner Field.
The runs snapped the Braves’ 25-inning scoreless streak – a span in which they were no-hit, outscored 15-1, hit .183 (23-for-126) and struck out 41 times. It also tripled the offensive output of the previous 37 innings.
Christian Bethancourt had three hits, two RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the fifth inning, two runs scored and his first career stolen base. Not a bad day for the September call-up’s return to the major leagues.
“I was really, really pleased with the at-bats,” said manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team finished with seven hits, drew nine walks and was 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
The Braves (73-67) had been shutout in three of their previous four games. They snapped a two-game losing streak and moved to with a game of the Brewers for the second wildcard playoff spot in the National League. The Brewers played at the Cubs Wednesday night.
B.J. Upton provided the big blow in the second inning with his 10th home run of the season. His two-run shot, on a 0-2 pitch, landed several rows deep in left-centerfield to score Bethancourt.
“We didn’t hang our heads after the last two days and we came back today and scratched out a win,” B.J. Upton said.
The Braves broke their miserable scoreless streak earlier in the inning on a pair of ground balls that were just out of the reach of Phillies infielders. Ryan Doumit, subbing for the injured Justin Upton, reached on an error to lead off the inning. His grounder bounced off the glove of second baseman Chase Utley, who was charged with an error. Doumit was sacrificed to second by Tommy La Stella. He scored when Bethancourt singled on a groundball just out of the reach of shortstop Freddy Galvis. All three runs were unearned – a moot point for a Braves team desperate for runs of any kind.
“You can say the quality of at-bats was because we got results but I think the effort was still the same as last night,” Gonzalez said. “We only got three hits and no runs. Today you could say the quality of at-bats was better because we got results. I think the effort is there always. Sometimes you get the hits, sometimes you don’t.”
The Braves’ 3-1 advantage was short-lived. Grady Sizemore blasted a two-run homer to right field in the third inning to tie the score.
The Braves regained the lead when Jason Heyward’s fourth-inning groundout scored Bethancourt, who led off with a single, to make it 4-3. The Phillies tied the game again on Utley’s bases-loaded, one-out sacrifice fly in the fifth. Utley also gave the Phillies an early 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Bethancourt then delivered the game-winner with a sharp single to right field that scored Freddie Freeman, who led off the Braves’ fifth inning with a double, for a 5-4 lead. The Braves added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning when La Stella singled in a run and Doumit scored on a wild pitch.
“I’m just trying to do my job,” said Bethancourt, who re-joined the Braves as a call-up Tuesday. “I’m trying to help my team get the win. I mean, we need a win. We need a win if we want to get to the playoffs. That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to get back on the field every day and try to do the best we can and get the win and play it game by game.”
Ervin Santana (14-7) got the win as he worked six innings. He gave up seven hits, four earned runs and one walk while striking out four on 84 pitches. Santana is 10-2 in 13 home starts this season.
Chasen Shreve and David Carpenter pitched scoreless innings before Craig Kimbrel nailed down the needed win with his 42nd save.
Braves are off Thursday before starting a nine-game road trip at the Marlins, Nationals and Rangers Friday. The Braves will play the next 10 games at home before ending the regular season with three games at the Phillies.
“We didn’t hit the ball too well the last few games so to come out and score as many runs as we did today and going into the off day and headed out on a long road it’s going to be real important,” Kimbrel said. “We go to Miami first and then to (division-leading) Washington and that is going to be a big series for us. So, it gives us a little bit of momentum going into the off day and then going down to Miami and hopefully we can keep this thing rolling.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.