Sunday, April 26, 2015

Braves Best Buchanan Despite Howard’s Homer

GAME RECAP: Braves Beat Phillies 5-2

The Braves snapped a 20-inning scoreless drought and ruined David Buchanan's strong start by producing a decisive three-run seventh inning in Saturday night's 5-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Eric Young Jr.'s two-out RBI double off Jake Diekman capped the go-ahead seventh that was sparked by Andrelton Simmons' leadoff home run. Before allowing Simmons to line his shot over the left-center-field wall, Buchanan had surrendered just one hit against the Braves, who had tallied just two hits while getting shut out in Friday's series opener. "I just like the way we battled against a tough reliever and got the win," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. The Braves snapped a four-game losing streak, with assistance from Shelby Miller, who scattered three hits over six innings. Miller's only costly mistake came courtesy of a fastball that Ryan Howard lined over the center-field wall for a two-run homer in the fourth inning.

  • The Phillies led 2-1 when Buchanan left after 6 2/3 innings -- his longest outing of the year. Diekman allowed a pair of inherited runners to score courtesy of Chris Johnson's pinch-hit single and Young's double. Buchanan has not won in last 13 starts, dating back to Aug. 11, 2014, vs. Houston.
  • Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis appeared hurt after a rolling stop and throw to first base to retire Markakis in the top of the sixth inning. "Freddy kind of scared me," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "But he was OK by the time he got to the dugout."
  • Gomes and Kelly Johnson were rewarded when a replay review confirmed Carlos Ruiz was out when he attempted to stretch a single into a double with one out in the seventh. Standing along the left-center-field wall, Gomes made a strong, accurate throw that Johnson secured before diving back across the second-base bag to tag Ruiz.
Trevor Cahill will oppose Jerome Williams when the Braves and Phillies conclude their three-game series on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Cahill has posted a 6.56 ERA over his past 19 starts, dating back to the beginning of last season. But he showed some improvement with his sinker before being chased in the fifth inning of Tuesday's start against the Mets. Williams has allowed three earned runs in the 12 innings he has totaled through his first two home starts of the season. His primary nemesis on Sunday might be Markakis, who has gone 6-for-13 in his career against the right-hander.


Shake It Off – Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis was shaken up in the top of the sixth inning of Saturday night's 5-2 loss to the Braves after diving to his left for a sharply hit ball by Atlanta's Nick Markakis and making a great play for the final out of the frame. Galvis was down on the ground for a few moments, clutching his right arm and side while appearing in pain. But he came off the field under his own power, and he stayed in the game, taking his position in the seventh. "Freddy kind of scared me for a second there," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. "When he rolled, his elbow hit his ribs. By the time he got to the dugout, he was OK. "That was just a fantastic play." Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan was also excited about Galvis' effort. "I've seen Freddy make some great plays, some behind me," said Buchanan. "That one is right up there." While Galvis has impressed with the glove, he's also been hot at the plate. Despite going 0-for-3, the shortstop has a .328 batting average.

Elusive Wins – Baseball luck has not been falling Phillies right-hander David Buchanan's way. Especially with the way he threw Saturday night in a 5-2 loss to the Braves in a game in which he left with a 2-1 lead with two out in the top of the seventh inning. "Until then, he was cruising," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of his 25-year-old starter. "This was his best outing, with controlling the baseball and throwing strikes." Buchanan -- who threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two hits and three runs, walking three and striking out three -- has not won in 13 starts, since Aug. 11, 2014, vs. Houston. He showed Saturday he can be effective, pitch deep into a game and keep his team in it. "I know I'll give up hits," Buchanan said. "I just don't like getting taken out [of the park, as Andrelton Simmons did in the top of the seventh]." After the homer, Buchanan walked Jonny Gomes and Kelly Johnson, and his night was over. Lefty reliever Jake Diekman allowed the two inherited runners to score, and what was a solid effort went for naught for the native of Peachtree City, Ga. "I just got the ball up to Simmons, and he surprised me," Buchanan said. "What I did in the seventh inning is unacceptable. I am working to make sure that is not the case in the future." Sandberg appreciates the efforts Buchanan has put in as far as establishing himself as a Major League starter. If you turn back the clock a few years, in his Minor League days, the jury was out as to whether he would get as far as he has. Today, however, Buchanan is a much-better pitcher than what he displayed in places like Double-A Reading. A bit less velocity mixed with improved overall command has shown he can compete, despite a record of 0-4 and an ERA of 7.52, down from the 9.22 he started the evening with. "I've seen a lot of improvement in David's efforts since he joined us last year," said Sandberg, "He's contributed. Wins are coming for him." Buchanan seems to know and believe that as well. "I can certainly take some positives from this, no doubt about it," he said of Saturday's start. "I made some good pitches. I need to make a few more." For his part, Buchanan is working on adjusting his mechanics, making sure the ball stays down, avoiding getting knocked a bit off track with a mistake that leads to the type of home run Simmons hit. "I can see where I can improve," Buchanan said.

Evaluating Brown – During Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg's pregame gatherings with reporters, the status of outfielder Domonic Brown naturally comes up. Brown, who left a Spring Training game March 20 with what was diagnosed as left Achilles tendinitis, has been rehabbing the injury in the Phillies' Minor League system. In 12 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Triple-A Lehigh Valley entering Saturday, Brown is 8-for-41 (.195) at the plate. "It's an evaluation process," said Sandberg. Brown -- who batted .272 (135-for-496) in 2013, with 27 home runs, 83 RBIs and an OPS of .834, but slumped to .235 (111-for-473) with 10 homers, 63 RBIs and an OPS of .634 in '14 -- has been working on his timing and told reporters he "wants to come back soon." Brown said he feels good and is just concerned about timing rather than his batting average and results. His 20-day rehabilitation assignment ends Tuesday, when a decision will have to be made on his status. The Phillies previously announced they planned to use all of Brown's rehabilitation time. They also stated they wanted Brown to face "advanced pitching" before he is activated. Brown is not the only Phillies player rehabbing with Lehigh Valley. Right-hander Chad Billingsley was scheduled to make his third start for the IronPigs on Saturday night vs. Buffalo. He has a 3.24 ERA over his first two starts at Triple-A, working his way back from surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right arm on June 24, 2014. Billingsley, who was 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA in 219 career games (190 starts) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, has not pitched since April 15 due to a virus.

Victornino Tribute – After eight years in Philadelphia, including 63 triples, three Gold Glove Awards, two All-Star Games and a World Series championship in 2008, it's safe to say that Phillies fans will always hold a special place in their hearts for Shane Victorino. But none more than the guy who turned Victorino's jersey into a prosthetic leg. Seriously. Jim Spencer is a 46-year-old Phillies fan with a prosthetic right leg. At Saturday's Phillies-Braves game, Spencer was on the field before the Phils took BP and spoke to Real-Time Correspondent Alexandra Nolan about his leg, which has an authentic Victorino Phillies jersey laminated on to it. "I have a Victorino kids-size jersey that's been laminated on there. It's a real jersey and these are the actual buttons from the jersey and it's got Victorino's number on the back." Now that's a the kind of souvenir that you're not gonna find at the Citizens Bank Park Majestic Clubhouse store. Remember that the next time you think of yourself as a diehard.

The Phillies are starting the season as expected and are now near the bottom of the NL east at 6-12. Given the departures, aging stars, injuries, and performance this spring, don’t expect their competitive place in the standings to last. All time, the Phillies are 39-51-2 on this day.

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