ATLANTA – Jerad Eickhoff admitted it was nice to be on the mound when the seventh inning started on Wednesday.
The right-hander had not pitched that deep into a game since May 10 against the Mets. That was his second start of the season. And in the 18 starts since, he had been limited to six innings or less.
That changed Wednesday when he pitched 6 2/3 innings against the Braves en route to his third win of the season.
The key was the command of his curveball. He threw it early in the count and was able to place it in spots that frustrated the Atlanta hitters for most of the night.
"He threw a ton of curveballs and they couldn't stop that," manager Pete Mackanin said. "All in all an outstanding performance against a pretty good lineup."
Eickhoff said, "I threw some good ones down in the zone."
Atlanta managed to get nine hits against Eickhoff, but he wiggled out of trouble. Eickhoff had only one perfect inning, but stranded one runner at third and got a break when Freddie Freeman was caught in a rundown trying to score.
The Braves rallied to score twice against Eickhoff in the seventh inning and sent him to the showers.
Nick Markakis singled and went to third when Ozzie Albies hit a line drive to right that Nick Williams lost in the lights and turned into a double. Pinch hitter Danny Santana delivered a two-out single to drive in both runs and cut the lead to 3-2.
However, left-hander Adam Morgan came on in relief to strike out Ender Inciarte and end the threat.
"I thought he got tired in that seventh inning, a couple line drives and one lost in the lights that hurt, and he hung a curveball with two strikes to Santana," Mackanin said. "But good effort from our bullpen."
Eickhoff improved to 3-2 with a 2.06 ERA in 13 career starts against the Braves.
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker, frustrated over his team's lack of success against the Phillies, said, "It's just kind of the way we've been against these guys. Everybody pitches like they're Bob Gibson against us, regardless of their history."