By Peter Marks
Zack Wheeler struck out 12 in eight shutout innings, and the Phillies beat Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves 2-1.
Philly is now 25-27, six games behind first-place Atlanta in NL East.
Wheeler (4-4) allowed three hits, walked one and hit a batter in his first win since April 29. The right-hander went 0-3 with a 4.44 ERA in four previous May starts.
Wheeler said manager Rob Thomson asked him how he was feeling after the seventh.
“(Thomson) told me if I got the first two guys in the eighth, I would get a chance to get through it,” said Wheeler, who then struck out the first two batters before retiring Matt Olson on a bouncer to first.
“I worked really hard this past bullpen working up and hitting my spots.”
Wheeler felt it was his best outing of the season.
“That was a very well-pitched game against us,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I felt like he probably could’ve thrown out there all day long.”
Philadelphia scored two runs in the fifth against Morton (5-5). Bryson Stott drove in Brandon Marsh with a sacrifice fly, and Trea Turner added a run-scoring double.
“When we got those two runs, we knew that was big,” Turner said. “Charlie is really good and we knew it would be tough.”
Trea Turner 2-3 Today with RBI. First game with 2 hits in 10 days https://t.co/G0nLEJG4lh
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 27, 2023
Morton struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings. He allowed seven hits and walked four.
Sean Murphy homered against Philadelphia closer Craig Kimbrel with one out in the ninth. But Kimbrel then struck out Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario.
It was Kimbrel’s seventh save of the season and No. 401 for his career.
Murphy had two of Atlanta’s four hits. The Braves went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
Turner, who has struggled in his first season in Philadelphia, had two hits and stole a base. Kody Clemens had two hits and scored a run.
The Phillies went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.
Philadelphia’s Alec Bohm made the game’s top defensive play in the third. The third baseman made a diving stop of an Ozuna grounder with a runner on second, and threw Ozuna out from his knees. Wheeler got Rosario to pop out to end the inning.
“That was a huge play,” Thomson said. “He had the presence to stay down and throw because he knew he had the time. That was a big play for us.”