By Sam Bush
On a night when their former pitching ace Cole Hamels was rocked in his first start in Texas, the Phillies continued their winning ways at Citizens Bank Park.
Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp (high-fiving Cody Asche above) all homered as the surging Phillies set a season high for scoring in a 12-2 victory over the slumping Atlanta Braves.
Ryan Howard had three hits with a double and an RBI for the Phillies, who are a major league-best 12-2 since the All-Star break after setting a club record with 62 losses before it. At 41-64, the Phils still have the worst mark in baseball.
”It looks to me like everybody feels we’re going to score runs,” Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ”They look like they feel they’re going to win. We’re on a pretty good roll right now.”
Maikel Franco had two doubles and two RBIs, Herrera had three hits and Cesar Hernandez and Galvis each had two as the Phillies pounded out 15 hits.
”We’re stringing hits together in bunches,” Mackanin said.
Aaron Nola (2-1) settled down after the first inning to earn his second career victory in his third start. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and five hits in five innings, with three strikeouts and no walks.
”I’m glad I get to be part of all this and I’m blessed to be up here,” Nola said.
Matt Wisler (5-2), also a 22-year-old rookie, had his worst start in his eighth career outing, allowing seven runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
”I’ve just got to learn from it and fix things in the bullpen,” Wisler said.
Nick Markakis homered leading off the game, and the Braves tacked on another run in the first on A.J. Pierzynski’s RBI single for a 2-0 advantage. However, Nola gave up two hits in four scoreless innings after that.
”I was just leaving balls over the plate,” Nola said. ”It was leaking too much over the middle and they were putting good swings on it. I just had to battle and keep the ball down.”
Phillies relievers Elvis Araujo, Hector Neris and Dalier Hinojosa then combined to allow one hit in four scoreless innings, lowering the bullpen’s ERA to 1.68 in the last 14 games.
After getting a run back in the bottom of the first, the Phils totaled 11 runs in the middle three innings.
Franco tied it at 2 in the fourth by running through the stop sign at third on Howard’s single to center. Rupp put Philly in front with his second homer of the season, a three-run shot to left, later in the inning.
Herrera’s long drive to the second deck in right and Domonic Brown’s RBI single scored two runs in the fifth, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. Howard scored on Brown’s hit after jarring the ball loose from catcher Pierzynski on a headfirst slide into home plate, a call that was upheld after a video review.
Galvis’ three-run homer to right highlighted Philly’s five-run sixth inning against right-hander David Aardsma that put the Phillies ahead by 10.