ATLANTA -- Evan Gattis' two-run home run in the first inning fueled the 17-hit attack the Braves used to overcome Julio Teheran's rocky fourth inning and conclude the regular season with Sunday afternoon's 12-5 win against the Phillies.
This rout allowed the Braves to match their franchise record of 56 home wins in a season.
But it was not enough for them to win their battle with the Cardinals for home-field advantage during the NL playoffs.
The Braves entered Sunday knowing to gain the NL's top seed, they needed both a win and a Cardinals loss. But by the time they were shaking hands at the end of this game, they were well aware of the fact that St. Louis beat the Cubs.
The Braves will now face the Dodgers in the NL Division Series. The opener of this best-of-five series will be played Thursday at Turner Field.
It did not take the Braves long to erase some of the frustration created by Saturday night's costly one-run loss. Each of the first five batters they sent to the plate against Zach Miner reached safely with a hit or a walk. This sudden eruption was highlighted by the two-run moonshot Gattis snuck over the top of the left-center-field wall.
Gattis' 21st home run landed right around the same area as the one he hit off Philadelphia's Roy Halladay in his first career at-bat back on April 3. The two-run shot marked the start of his three-hit performance, which was outdone only by fellow backup catcher Gerald Laird.
Laird notched one of the two singles that preceded the one-out double Andrelton Simmonsrecorded in the two-run third inning to give Teheran a 5-0 lead. This seemed to be more than enough, as the rookie right-hander allowed just two hits through the first three innings. But the Phillies made things interesting when they notched three straight one-out singles during a four-run fourth inning that was highlighted by Erik Kratz's three-run home run, which narrowly missed Gattis' glove before sneaking over the left-field wall.
Teheran allowed just the four runs and six hits during this 66-pitch, five-inning outing that served as his final tuneup before his first career postseason start. He will likely get the ball in either Friday's Game 2 or Sunday's Game 3 of the NLDS.
After the Phillies pulled within one run, the Braves regained a comfortable lead by combining for five runs in the fifth and sixth innings, then two more in the eighth. Jose Constanza came off the bench to deliver a two-out, two-run single in the fifth, and Elliot Johnson drove in a pair of runs in the sixth inning with a triple. Johnson followed it with a two-run single in the eighth, giving him a career-high five RBIs.
----- Source: MLB.com
Chase Utley was called safe at home with the first of four runs for the Phils in the fourth inning.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt