Braves rally to beat Workman, Phillies 6-5 in 9th

MLB

ATLANTA (AP)Adam Duvall and the Atlanta Braves spoiled Brandon Workman’s debut with Philadelphia, rallying for a 6-5 win over the sliding Phillies on Saturday night.

Workman, acquired in a trade with Boston on Friday, entered with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning. He promptly gave up a two-run double to Matt Adams, lifting the Braves to a 5-4 lead.

After Bryce Harper hit a tying sacrifice fly in the ninth, the Braves handed Workman (0-1) a loss in the bottom half. With two outs and the bases loaded, Adam Duvall ended the game with a single back up the middle.

”We never gave up, we never quit,” Duvall said. ”We just kept putting together good at-bats.”

It was a sadly familiar script for Philadelphia’s bullpen, which began the night ranked last in the majors with a 7.59 ERA. This time, there was a new lead role by Workman.

”That’s not the first impression I’m trying to make, obviously,” Workman said after allowing four hits and one run in 1 1/3 innings.

The NL East-leading Braves have won five of six, including the first two games of the series.

Braves manager Brian Snitker described the win as ”nerve-wracking, nail-biting, exciting” and ”gut-wrenching.” Snitker said it is unfortunate no fans are allowed in the stands due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Added Snitker: ”It’s that kind of stuff, if you’re not doing this, it’s what you miss.”

On the play before Duvall’s hit, the winning run was wiped out by a video review. Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius threw home on Travis d’Arnaud’s grounder. Plate umpire Chad Whitson called pinch-runner Alex Jackson safe before a review showed catcher J.T. Realmuto tagged the plate.

Harper also hit the second-longest homer of his career in the first inning of the Phillies’ fifth consecutive loss. His sacrifice fly in the ninth drove in Neil Walker, who slid in safely despite a strong throw by rookie left fielder Cristian Pache.

It was the first blown lead in five save tries for Braves closer Mark Melancon (2-0).

Hector Neris, whose role as Philadelphia’s closer is in question, gave up two hits, including a run-scoring single by Marcell Ozuna, and a walk to open the eighth.

Adams’ double down the left-field line drove in Freddie Freeman and Ozuna, who scored the go-ahead run from first.

Harper’s two-run shot off Robbie Erlin in the first traveled an estimated 470 feet, landing deep in the seats in right-center. The homer, Harper’s seventh, drove in Rhys Hoskins, who walked.

Zack Wheeler allowed five hits and set a season high with eight strikeouts.

Andrew McCutchen connected for Philadelphia in the seventh, going deep against Grant Dayton. But then Austin Riley responded with a two-run shot off Wheeler in the bottom half, cutting Philadelphia’s lead to 4-2.

The Phillies added Workman, Heath Hembree and David Hale to their 28-man roster before the game. They were all acquired in a pair of trades Friday.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: OF Jay Bruce (left quad strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Friday. Manager Joe Girardi said Bruce could only run at 50 or 60% and needs the time off ”so he can be a complete player for us.”

Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. (left wrist inflammation) will be checked on Sunday after taking swings and doing other work with the team during batting practice. ”Everything went really well,” said Snitker, who said Acuna may take more swings Sunday if he has no discomfort from Saturday’s work. … Snitker said 2B Ozzie Albies (bone contusion in right wrist) is ”feeling really good” and may take batting practice on Monday.

WHEELER’S STRONG START

The Phillies’ slumping bullpen wasted a strong start by Wheeler, who allowed two runs in seven innings.

”I know our fans are struggling with it but it’s baseball,” Wheeler said. ”It’s a hard game. I have trust in our bullpen.”

LONG HOMER

Harper’s drive was the second-longest homer at Truist Park, which was known as SunTrust Park when it opened in 2017. The New York Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hit a 477-foot homer off R.A. Dickey on Aug. 4, 2017.

It also was Harper’s second-longest homer, as tracked by Statcast. While with Washington, Harper hit a 473-foot shot off the Phillies’ Nick Pivetta on May 4, 2018, at Nationals Park.

UP NEXT

Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (0-1, 5.14 ERA) will make his fourth start of the season in Sunday night’s series finale.

Braves: RHP Josh Tomlin (1-0, 2.35 ERA) will make his second start of the season following eight relief appearances.

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