Phillies Take a Page Out of Braves' Book to Notch Key Series Win


The Phillies took a page out of the Braves' book Wednesday night, scoring all of their runs with two outs en route to a much-needed series win.

The Braves have been a remarkably clutch team this season. They lead the majors in batting average, OBP and slugging with runners in scoring position, and they've scored 119 runs with two outs. Entering Wednesday night, that was 17 more than any team in baseball and 47 more than the Phillies.

In the series finale, it was the Phillies' situational hitting that stood out.

The 4-0 win makes the Phillies 28-19 and the Braves 29-19. Yet again, the Phils are a half game out of first place.

The Phils and Braves will not meet again for 102 games. They'll face each other Sept. 20-23 in Atlanta and then in the final series of the season Sept. 28-30.

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Arrieta dazzles
Jake Arrieta continues to dominate at Citizens Bank Park. He cruised through his first six innings before running into trouble with two outs in the seventh. With runners on second and third, Gabe Kapler made the call to Seranthony Dominguez after a conversation on the mound and Dominguez made his manager look good with a swinging strikeout of Preston Tucker.

Arrieta pitched 6⅔ scoreless innings to lower his season ERA to 2.45. He's been especially locked in at home with a 0.84 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.

Arrieta struck out seven, his second-highest total as a Phillie. 

His biggest jam occurred in the second inning when the Braves put runners at second and third with nobody out. Just like Vince Velasquez last night, Arrieta worked his way out of that jam unscathed with two groundouts and a strikeout.

Arrieta still has the highest groundball rate in the National League, just south of 57 percent. The league average is 43 percent.

Dominant Dominguez
Dominguez has essentially pitched a one-hit shutout to begin his MLB career.

He retired all four batters he faced Wednesday on a strikeout and three groundouts.

Dominguez's numbers this season: 9 innings, 1 hit, 0 runs, 0 walks, 9 strikeouts.

The Phillies have a good one. And it's great to see that they're utilizing him in whichever situation has the highest leverage, whether it's the seventh, eighth or ninth inning.

The 4-5 combo
Aaron Altherr and Carlos Santana were the offensive heroes in this one. Santana singled twice, including an RBI infield single to plate the Phils' first run. Altherr walked twice, extending the inning for Santana's RBI hit and scoring on Maikel Franco's double an inning later.

Santana has made up for his poor April. Since May 1, he's hit .271 with a .999 OPS, five doubles, a triple, six homers and 19 RBI in 19 games. He's also walked four more times than he's struck out.

Nick Williams also provided a key insurance run with a pinch-hit RBI double in the eighth. Williams is 8 for 18 (.444) as a pinch-hitter this season with two homers, a double and seven RBI.

Alfaro's impactful arm
Jorge Alfaro gunned out yet another runner at second base, making the perfect throw necessary in the seventh inning to nab Ender Inciarte, who leads the majors with 18 steals. 

Alfaro has thrown out nine would-be base-stealers to lead the National League. He's one behind Jonathan Lucroy for the major-league lead.

Alfaro also has the strongest throwing arm of any MLB catcher (90.5 mph) for the second straight season.

Difference-making defense behind the plate.

Kingery's woes continue
Scott Kingery continues to expand the strike zone with swings at breaking balls he has no chance of hitting. In his first at-bat Wednesday, he chased breaking balls low and off the plate on consecutive pitches to basically strike himself out.

Kingery has swung at 39 percent of pitches outside the strike zone in his rookie season, fifth most in the National League.

He's hitting .213 on the season with a .263 OBP, 40 strikeouts and eight walks.

A little help?
Rhys Hoskins, in the midst of a 20-game slump, threw his hands up in the air in a "What do I gotta do?" kind of way after a deep lineout in the fourth inning. Hoskins hit a ball about 320 feet to the corner in right field but Nick Markakis made an impressive running grab.

All in all, it was a decent night at the plate for Hoskins, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and that lineout.

Up next
The Phillies are off Thursday before playing a three-game, interleague series this weekend against the Blue Jays.

They'll see an old friend on Sunday.

Friday - Zach Eflin (1-0, 1.56) vs. Sam Gaviglio (1-0, 0.93)

Saturday - Aaron Nola (6-2, 2.37) vs. Joe Biagini (0-3, 7.71)

Sunday - Nick Pivetta (4-2, 3.23) vs. J.A. Happ (6-3, 3.97)

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