ATLANTA (AP) — Zack Wheeler pitched 6 2/3 strong innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts, Rhys Hoskins knocked in three runs with an early double and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on Monday night.
The teams began the day tied for second in the division, eight games out of the lead, and hadn’t met since Sept. 30 when the defending World Series champion Braves won to clinch their fourth consecutive NL East title.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Tracking Possible Showers And Storms For The Fourth Of July Weekend
Wheeler (3-3) improved to 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA with 40 strikeouts in his last five starts. Last year’s Cy Young Award runner-up has allowed two runs or less in four of them. Wheeler, who gave up eight hits and two runs with no walks, is 3-2 with a 1.79 ERA in six starts against Atlanta since the start of last season.
Kyle Schwarber walked to start the second and advanced on J.T. Realmuto’s single and Roman Quinn’s walk. Hoskins hit a gapper into right-center to clear the bases for a 3-0 lead. Of Hoskins’ 35 hits this season, 16 have been for extra bases.
The Phillies padded the lead in the third with three more runs for a 6-0 lead on Realmuto’s RBI triple and Quinn’s two-run double. Atlanta starter Tucker Davidson (1-1) was charged with four hits, five runs and four walks in 2 2/3 innings. An RBI single by Jean Segura made it 7-0 in the fourth.
Wheeler set down 11 in a row before Austin Riley doubled in the fifth and scored on Dansby Swanson’s single to trim the lead to 7-1. An RBI single by Riley in the seventh made it 7-2.
Among all pitchers with at least 45 innings against a single opponent since the start of 2020, Wheeler began the game with a 1.75 ERA against Atlanta that ranks second in the majors to St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright, who has a 0.55 ERA against Pittsburgh.
Quinn easily threw out William Contreras from center field on a two-hopper at the plate in the first as Contreras tried to score from second on Marcell Ozuna’s single. Wheeler struck out Matt Olson with a runner at third to end the inning.
Atlanta’s Ozzie Albies RBI single tacked on a run in the eighth off Connor Brogdon to make it 7-3.READ MORE: Phillies' Bryce Harper Out Indefinitely With Broken Thumb After Being Hit By Pitch In 4-2 Win Over Padres
Phillies closer Corey Knebel faced the minimum in the ninth in a non-save situation.
Braves RF Ronald Acuña Jr. has reached safely in 29 straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, dating to last June 25. He began the game with a .414 on-base percentage during the streak. He had a career-best 32-game stretch in 2019.
SWITCHING IT UP
Braves manager Brian Snitker made several changes to the lineup, batting Contreras second and playing the catcher in left field for the first time in his career, dropping Olson from second to fifth, Albies sixth and Riley down to seventh. The foursome combined to go 6 for 15.
Philadelphia SS Didi Gregorius (left knee sprain) is making small progress, but the team has no immediate timetable for his return. “He’ll do everything tomorrow again, and then we’ll make an assessment after that,” manager Joe Girardi said. “The hoop that he has to get through is the hitting. Rotating on the back knee, that’s the thing.”
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Braves LHP Max Fried (4-2, 3.31 ERA) will face RHP Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.98) when the teams play the second of a four-game series on Tuesday. Fried is 4-3 with a 4.01 ERA in eight career starts and six relief appearances against the Phillies. Gibson is 1-1 with a 4.73 ERA in two career starts against Atlanta.