ATLANTA --Aaron Harang surrendered nine runs -- seven of which came in the game's first two innings and eight of which were earned -- as the Braves fell to the Phillies, 10-5, and took a third sweep in their past seven series. Atlanta remained tied for second in the NL East by virtue of Miami's loss to the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon.
Evan Gattis extended his hitting streak to a career-best 17 games with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first, but a strong offensive showing was not enough for an Atlanta pitching staff that entered Wednesday with a 4.52 ERA in June.
As left-hander Alex Wood stretches out at Triple-A Gwinnett to rejoin the starting rotation, his anticipated return on June 28 provides some hope. Harang, Ervin Santana and Mike Minor have all struggled mightily in recent weeks.
Harang is not the same pitcher who enjoyed a dominant stretch to begin the season, Santana has a 6.17 ERA in his past seven starts and Minor has been inconsistent.
Julio Teheran and Gavin Floyd have been Atlanta's lone reliable starters in the past month, and Floyd is only a little more than a year removed from Tommy John surgery. Harang has 12 quality starts in 15 outings, but the Braves need more from him.
Harang surrendered a season-high 13 hits, seven of which came with two outs. He also issued two two-out walks, each resulting in a run. Philadelphia's big inning was the second, in which the club scored five runs after making two quick outs.
The frame was especially deflating given the way the Braves rallied back from the two runs Harang surrendered in the top of the first. Atlanta tallied four runs, boosted by Gattis' 16th home run, which tops among all Major League catchers.
It took Gattis 285 plate appearances to smack his 16th homer last season, on Sept. 3. He has reached the total this season 78 plate appearances, and 77 days, earlier than he did as a rookie.
The Braves put together a first inning of three walks and three hits to open up a lead after watching their opponent score first for the seventh time in a span of eight games, but the advantage was short-lived.
Harang gave up six consecutive two-out hits in the top of the second, a barrage that included an RBI double from Ryan Howard. The Phillies first baseman finished the three-game series 5-for-12 with a double, two homers and six RBIs.
Philadelphia's sweep was its first at Turner Field since it took three straight from Sept. 26-28, 2011, and it put the Braves in a tough spot. The Phillies entered Atlanta sitting in last place in the National League East, and they left town only 3 1/2 games behind the second-place Braves.
------ Source: MLB.com