Tue, 29 Nov 2022

Braves, Phillies meet as playoff implications abound

Field Level Media
25 Sep 2022, 21:19 GMT+10

The Atlanta Braves went without a home run during each of their past three losses.

That trend changed Saturday and the result was a victory.

Michael Harris II and William Contreras each homered in the Braves' 6-3 victory over the host Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves (94-58) will look for a split of the four-game series in the finale on Sunday afternoon.

Contreras ripped his 20th homer of the season.

"Just try and stay positive. That's the biggest adjustment I've made," Contreras said on a postgame interview on Bally Sports South. "Stay calm, stay positive and just keep working."

The Braves moved to 1 1/2 games behind the New York Mets for first place in the National League East.

Even without Ronald Acuna Jr. (sore back) for the third consecutive game, the Braves accumulated 14 hits. It's unclear if Acuna will be in the lineup Sunday.

Whichever lineup manager Brian Snitker puts on the bulletin board, the Braves realize they have the talent and depth to win.

"We've just got to care of business," Contreras said.

"Our focus is on [Sunday]," Snitker added.

One day after Kyle Wright became the first 20-game winner in Major League Baseball, the Braves will hand the ball to Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.09 ERA). In Morton's most recent start, against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday, he gave up three hits and one run with nine strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings.

Morton is 5-6 with a 4.43 ERA in 16 career starts against the Phillies.

Matt Olson initially was given Saturday off but entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning. Olson and Dansby Swanson have played in every game this season.

The Phillies (83-68) will look to strengthen their playoff position when they battle the Braves.

Philadelphia stands 1 1/2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the third National League wild-card spot.

The Phillies' magic number is nine as they search for their first playoff berth since 2011 when they won 102 games.

"We fought back. It's what these guys do," Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. "We got off to a slow start."

Bryce Harper snapped out of a September funk with a two-run home run.

It was a much-needed jolt from the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, who missed 52 games with a broken left thumb earlier this season.

"He had great at-bats," Thomson said. "He was balanced and on time. He really barreled balls up."

The Phillies' bullpen also provided a lift after Bailey Falter gave up 10 hits and six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Andrew Bellatti, Connor Brogdon, Seranthony Dominguez, David Robertson and Zach Eflin allowed a combined four hits and no runs the rest of the game.

"They kept us in the game," Thomson said.

Kyle Gibson (10-7, 4.71) is scheduled to start for the Phillies. Gibson struggled mightily in his most recent outing as he gave up 12 hits and seven runs in five innings in a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Gibson is 2-1 with a 4.07 ERA in four career starts against the Braves.

--Field Level Media

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