Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Braves 2


What is it about the eighth inning for these Phillies?

The Phils had just one hit through six innings Sunday before rallying for one in the seventh and four in the eighth -- on back-to-back-to-back home runs -- to sweep the Braves with a 5-2 victory.

They tied Atlanta in the bottom of the seventh with three one-out singles, then went ahead with three consecutive home runs in the eighth. Cesar Hernandez hit a two-run shot to right field off reliever Arodys Vizcaino to take a 3-1 lead and Aaron Altherr followed with a deep shot to center on the very next pitch. A pitching change later, Odubel Herrera made it three in a row.

The Phillies already have six home runs in the eighth inning, which leads the majors and is more than the Cubs, Red Sox, Rockies, Angels, Mariners, Pirates, White Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Giants and Astros have combined.

The Phils' 5-2 win is their fourth in a row and completes their first series sweep of the young season. They are 9-9 while Atlanta is now 6-12.

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Starting pitching report
Zach Eflin was efficient, pitching to contact and generating a bunch of weak popups and groundouts to the right side.

Over seven innings, he allowed just three hits and one run on a solo homer by Matt Kemp. The only runner who reached scoring position against him was Brandon Phillips with a two-out steal in the sixth.

Eflin got eight of his 21 outs on two pitches or less.

The 23-year-old has had two strong starts in a row -- 12 innings, six hits, three runs, three walks, seven strikeouts. As long as Eflin's limiting the free passes he's going to be OK. He still isn't inducing a ton of swings and misses, but he's been able to spot his fastball well on the inside corner and break some bats. He broke Kemp's in his second AB.

Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz held the Phillies in check over seven innings, allowing just the one run. The Phillies homered four times off Foltynewicz in a game last summer, but have struggled the last two times they've faced him.

Foltynewicz struck out nine batters with his high-90s fastball. Altherr struck out all three times he faced him and Herrera K'd twice.

Since 2015, Foltynewicz has the 10th-best velocity of any starting pitcher in the majors at 95.1 mph, ahead of guys like Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom. (Foltynewicz has had by far the least success of those pitchers in the top 10.)

Bullpen report
Hector Neris made things too interesting in a non-save situation, allowing one run and loading the bases with one out in the ninth to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. With a shallow flyout and a groundout, he wiggled his way out of trouble.

Pat Neshek and Joely Rodriguez combined to pitch a scoreless eighth.

At the plate
The Phils' three eighth-inning home runs tied a franchise record.

Hernandez already has nine extra-base hits, which is more than Giancarlo Stanton, Kris Bryant, Paul Goldschmidt and Robinson Cano. With four homers, Hernandez is two away from tying his 2016 total.

Daniel Nava reached base all three times with a single and two walks. He's reached base in 16 of his first 30 plate appearances, something no first-year Phillie has done since Jeremy Giambi in 2002.

Kemp drove in both of Atlanta's runs. The Braves' only extra-base hit was his seventh-inning solo shot. Their only walk was Freddie Freeman's to start the ninth.

Up next
Monday is the Phillies' fourth and final scheduled off-day of April.

On Tuesday, they begin a three-game series at home vs. Miami.

The Phils face a left-handed starting pitcher in two of the three games after facing just three in their first 18.

Tuesday: Vince Velasquez (0-2, 7.20 ERA) vs. LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 3.94)

Wednesday: Aaron Nola (2-0, 4.50) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-2, 4.82)

Thursday: Jeremy Hellickson (3-0, 1.88) vs. LHP Adam Conley (1-1, 3.00)

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