ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Donaldson and Austin Riley hit three-run homers off Nick Pivetta and the Atlanta Braves solidified their NL East lead by beating the Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 on Wednesday night.
Donaldson’s homer gave Atlanta a 3-0 lead in the fourth. Following Riley’s blast, Matt Joyce added a pinch-hit, two-run homer off Juan Nicasio in Atlanta’s six-run sixth.
Atlanta leads second-place Philadelphia by 5 ½ games after splitting the first two games of the series.
Bryce Harper hit a line-drive homer to left field in the sixth. It was his 200th career homer and 1,000th career hit. According to the Phillies, it marked the first time in major league history a player reached milestones in hits and homers on the same swing.
Harper, apparently aware of the significance of the homer, signaled for the ball as he ran around the bases. He had his wish granted by a fan who threw the ball back onto the field.
Rookie Bryse Wilson (1-0) allowed two runs in six innings to give Atlanta’s rotation an important boost in only his fourth career start, including three this season. Mike Foltynewicz, a 2018 All-Star, was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett on June 22 and Kevin Gausman was placed on the injured list on June 11 with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Those exits left the rotation thin, even with the recent addition of Dallas Keuchel.
Wilson’s outing could impact the team’s trade outlook. There has been much speculation the Braves could attempt to add another veteran starting pitching before the July 31 trade deadline.
Wilson, 21, faded in the sixth, when he allowed Harper’s 16th homer, Rhys Hoskins’ double to left field and J.T. Realmuto’s run-scoring single to left. Realmuto was thrown out at second to end the inning after Hoskins scored to cut Atlanta’s lead to 3-2.
The Braves pulled away with six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the sixth. Pivetta (4-3) allowed six runs, five earned, in 5 2/3 innings.
Scott Kingery made two highlight-worthy catches in center field. He raced in to catch a sinking liner hit by Nick Markakis in the sixth and made a diving snag of Donaldson’s fly ball in the right-center gap in the seventh.
Phillies: RHP David Robertson, trying to return from right elbow soreness, threw 19 pitches in the bullpen. He hasn’t pitched since April 14. Robertson threw his fastball “with more conviction” according to manager Gabe Kapler. … RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right biceps tendinitis) will play catch on Friday.
Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in three career starts against the Braves. He has not faced Atlanta this season.
Braves: All-Star RHP Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.13) will be the second straight rookie to face the Phillies as the three-game series ends.