By Sam Bush
The Braves rested their starters in yesterday’s game against the Phillies.
And ace Aaron Nola was on the mound.
Still, the Phillies lost again and officially fell out of the 2018 postseason race.
Lane Adams homered and drove in two runs, Anibal Sanchez won for the first time in nine starts and the Braves won their fifth straight game, 2-1.
Atlanta, the first NL team to qualify for the playoffs, eliminated the Phillies from the division race on Saturday. The Braves have the second-best record among NL division leaders at 88-68 and could earn home-field advantage in the NL Division Series with a strong performance during the final week of the regular season.
The Braves mostly rested their regulars against ace Nola (16-6). Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis each had one at-bat in Atlanta’s final home game before walking off the field to standing ovations before the start of the second.
“Everybody deserved it, but they’re the two guys that have posted up every day,” Snitker said. “They’re on a 162-game pace and kind of our guts. So I thought that was pretty cool they got to get recognized. It was very well deserved.”
Among the other regulars to make an appearance, Ozzie Albies grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and Ronald Acuna Jr. flew out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Adams, filling in for center fielder Ender Inciarte, had an RBI double in the second and hit his second homer in the fifth.
Sanchez (7-6) further secured his role as Atlanta’s No. 3 starter for the division series behind Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman, allowing four hits, one run and one walk in five innings. Sanchez won for the first time since Aug. 3 and has a 3.09 ERA over that span.
“He’s been huge,” Snitker said. “What a great story that is. As far as being a complete pitcher and executing pitches, it’s pretty good. There’s a lot of knowledge there. He’s been doing it a long time and he’s been successful.”
Scott Kingery’s eighth homer for the Phils tied it at 1-all in the third. The Phillies were swept in a four-game series in Atlanta for the first time since 1997.
Nola gave up four hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts in six innings. He has surrendered nine homers in five starts this month and is 1/3 with a 4.55 ERA over that span.
Nola wants to make one final start, giving him 33 for the season, as the Phillies try to finish above .500.
“I think just going forward, everybody has confidence in each other,” he said. “To finish the year out strong is important to us.”
Reliever Max Fried allowed three baseunners in the sixth and seventh for Atlanta. Sam Freeman faced the minimum in the eighth.
Shane Carle pitched a shaky ninth to earn his first career save in two chances. He walked two batters and hit Kingery with a pitch before Wilson Ramos grounded out to end it.