The Phillies ran their winning streak to five games in a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves at rainy Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon.
The win improved the Phillies to 14-14, bringing them to the .500 mark for the first time since they were 9-9.
The Phils will try to sweep the Braves in the final meeting of the season between the two teams on Sunday night. A win would put the Phillies over .500 for the first time this season.
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The Braves lead the NL East at 18-14. The Phils are two games back and in the thick of playoff contention with 32 games left.
Zach Eflin pitched a beauty Saturday to pick up his second straight win, both against the Braves, and Rhys Hoskins paced the offense with three hits, including a long, three-run homer.
The right-hander beat the Braves for the second time in a week with seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball. He struck out eight and walked none.
Only a rain delay in the bottom of the seventh prevented Eflin from going deeper into the game. He threw 83 pitches and 59 were strikes.
Eflin made a slight tweak to his pitching strategy against the Braves this time. He still featured his bread-and-butter sinker, but he threw more curveballs. Last week against the Braves, he threw just four curveballs. In this start, he threw 19 of them and the pitch was a real weapon. Six of his eight strikeouts came on curveballs, five of them swinging.
Bullpen gets it done
The Phillies' bullpen pitched five scoreless innings after the Braves tied Friday night's game with a pair of homers against reliever Adam Morgan.
The bullpen's good work continued in this one as Hector Neris and Brandon Workman combined on two scoreless innings to close out the win. Workman frayed some nerves as he allowed a walk and a base hit with one out in the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate. He got out of it with some help from Hoskins, who made a nice game-ending play on a liner off the bat of Nick Markakis.
Neris might be getting it together after a rough start to the season. He spent much time before the game throwing in the bullpen under the watchful eye of three coaches. In the game, he featured his fastball over his signature splitter in putting up a 1-2-3 eighth. Neris threw 10 pitches, eight fastballs and just two splitters, a definite change in approach.
The Phillies first baseman put a couple of beautiful swings on Atlanta starter Josh Tomlin. In the second inning, Hoskins clubbed a 403-foot double off the top of the center-field wall. He died on second that time but came all the way around in the fifth when he drove a long, three-run homer to center to give the Phils a 4-0 lead. The home run came off the bat with a loud crack and traveled 421 feet.
Hoskins continues to slowly heat up and his power stroke has come along as he's used more of the middle of the field. In his last 18 games, he has five doubles, four homers and 12 RBIs. What a difference he'd make if he can continue to complement Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto as the big producers in the Phillies' lineup.
Oh, what a catch!
After a 37-minute rain delay in the bottom of the seventh, Bryce Harper lined a shot into the gap in right-center. The ball had extra bases written all over it until sprinting Braves centerfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. came out of nowhere and made a diving catch while airborne.
Harper was reaching first base as Acuña made the sensational catch. He was so frustrated that he smashed his helmet to the ground.
Jake Arrieta (2-3, 4.32) will start the series finale for the Phillies on Sunday night. The Braves did not immediately announce a starter.