By Sam Bush
Jose Pirela’s first homer of the season capped a five-run fourth inning as the Phillies beat the Braves 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves to pull within 4 games of the second wild card spot in the NL.
The Phillies trailed 2-0 before erupting against Atlanta ace Dallas Keuchel in the fourth. Rhys Hoskins started it with a two-run opposite-field homer, his 29th. Cesar Hernandez added an RBI groundout, and Pirela followed with a two-run shot.
Leading 5-3, the Phils withstood a ninth-inning rally. Hector Neris gave up a leadoff homer to Adam Duvall, and Atlanta got the tying run to third base when Ronald Acuna Jr. walked, stole second and went to third on a groundout. But Neris struck out Josh Donaldson and retired Nick Markakis on a pop fly to shortstop to earn his 27th save.
The Phils starter Vince Velasquez (7-7) looked like he was going to get knocked out early when he gave up two runs in the first inning. But the right-hander added four scoreless innings.
In his five innings, he gave up five hits, two walks and struck out eight. It was the most strikeouts for Velasquez since he posted a season-high nine on July 24 against Detroit.
Keuchel (8-6) worked five innings and allowed five runs on eight hits and one walk, with two strikeouts. Keuchel had won his last five starts and had allowed only four earned runs in his last six appearances.
The Braves opened the game by scoring two runs in the first. Donaldson’s sacrifice fly drove in Ozzie Albies, who had singled, and Matt Joyce added a run-scoring single.
The Braves added a run in the eighth when Adeiny Hechavarria belted a pinch-hit homer, his seventh home run of the season, against Jose Alvarez. It was the club-record 236th home run of the season for the Braves and ended a two-game homerless streak.