Second baseman Brandon Phillips gave the Braves the lead with a one-run double on Saturday. After the Phillies took it back, Phillips homered with two outs in the ninth inning to tie the game and the Braves took a one-run lead in the 10th.
But Braves closer Jim Johnson couldn’t survive a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the 10th. The Phillies hit three consecutive singles, two of them to infielders, before Maikel Franco won the game on a two-run single with two outs.
The Phillies beat the Braves 4-3 to secure the series victory. The Braves (6-11) lost their fifth straight game after they’d won five straight.
“Things happen,” Phillips said. “I thought we had the game in the bag. But they were still trying to win the game. They had some key hits in key situations. They just found the holes, hit them where they wasn’t and we tried our best to make plays. It just sucks the way we lost.”
The Braves scored an unearned run against Jeanmar Gomez to go ahead 3-2 with two outs in the 10th inning. Dansby Swanson went to third base on first baseman Tommy Joseph’s throwing error and scored when third baseman Franco scooped Adonis Garcia’s ground ball and threw wide to Joseph.
But some tough luck for Johnson led to the deciding runs.
Brock Stassi singled to right field against Johnson with one out in the 10th inning. Cesar Hernandez followed with a ground ball that Johnson deflected before it got to Phillips, who flipped the ball wide to shortstop Swanson while trying to get the force out at second base.
“I felt like I should have made that play,” Phillips said.
The next batter, Aaron Altherr, hit a ground ball to Swanson but he couldn’t get it out of his glove. The base hit loaded the bases for Odubel Herrera, who struck out.
Franco then drove Johnson’s 1-0 fastball off the right-field wall to win the game.
“It’s a crazy game we play,” Phillips said. “It was a tough way to lose. We played a great game. They played a great game, also. What can you really say?”
It was the Braves’ fifth defeat by one run this season and their third in a row. The Braves lost 4-3 to the Phillies (8-9) in Friday’s series opener and the Nationals beat them 3-2 on Thursday at SunTrust Park.
Phillips tied the game 2-2 in the ninth inning when he smashed Edubray Ramos’s 1-0 pitch into the left-field seats. His two-out, RBI double against Jerad Eickhoff in the fourth inning put the Braves ahead 1-0 before the Phillies scored two runs in the sixth inning against left-hander Jaime Garcia.
Eickhoff held the Braves to two hits and a run over five innings. The Braves couldn’t get a runner past first base over the final four innings until Phillips hit his second home run of the season.
Braves reliever Arodys Vizcaino retired the Phillies in order in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Swanson’s hit and a strange defensive play gave the Braves a prime opportunity to take the lead in the 10th.
Swanson led off with a single and went to second on Emilio Bonifacio’s sacrifice bunt. Joseph, who apparently thought Swanson was trying to take third on the play, threw wildly to that base and the error allowed Swanson to advance.
But the Phillies got the breaks in the bottom of the inning and, in the end, the Braves lost another close game because of their anemic offense.
“We’ve just go to keep hanging in there and keep plugging away and eventually our offense is going to get on track and we are going to score some runs and have a little breathing room in some games,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
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