By Sam Bush
Odubel Herrera hit two homers as the Phillies blasted the Atlanta Braves 7-3.
A 2016 All-Star and the Phillies’ best player the past two seasons, has been a fixture in center field and No. 3 in the batting order on a team that uses 10 players as regulars.
“I feel very locked in,” Herrera said through an interpreter after raising his average to .348.
Manager Gabe Kapler has been impressed with Herrera’s ability to adapt during at-bats.
“He makes adjustments with the barrel as good as anybody I’ve seen,” Kapler said.
Aaron Nola (3-1) allowed three runs in the first but didn’t give up another run and surrendered seven hits.
“Cool, calm, collected leadership,” Kapler said of Nola. “He gave up three in the first but he’s the same guy with the same level of confidence.”
Herrera lined a three-run homer to right in the first to tie it at 3-3. His solo shot off Max Fried (0-2) gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Herrera had never hit more than one homer in a game in the majors.
Freddie Freeman got the Braves started with an RBI single. Nola almost worked out of a first-and-third, no-out jam by retiring Nick Markakis and Kurt Suzuki on pop-ups. But Ozzie Albies stole home on a double steal with Freeman beating the throw to second base. Ronald Acuna Jr. followed with an RBI double for the third run.
Acuna’s hit had 111.8 mph exit velocity, the hardest-hit ball by Braves this season, according to Statcast.
Teheran didn’t allow a hit in the next two innings before coming out.
The Phillies are off to a 16-9 start, their best mark after 25 games since going 17-8 to begin the 2011 season. A win today would put them eight games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-best 102 wins.