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Strider fans 9 in 1st Philly start since postseason loss, Braves beat Phillies

Todd Kirkland / Getty Images Sport / Getty

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Spencer Strider missed the replays on the 86-foot tall videoboard of perhaps the worst outing of the Atlanta right-hander's two year-career. The spiked bat. The early postseason exit. The Phillies crowd whipped into a full-blown frenzy.

“I don't really pay too much attention to what's on the scoreboard,” Strider said.

Strider should have looked up every now and again in his latest start against the Phillies, this time to check out the zeroes he put up against Bryce Harper and one of the hottest teams in baseball.

Strider struck out nine over six innings in his first start in Philadelphia since his postseason implosion, Austin Riley and Matt Olson homered and the Braves beat the Phillies 4-2 on Tuesday night.

The Braves made their first trip to Philly since the NL Division Series that launched Red October all the way to the World Series. Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins provided the series’ indelible moment when he raised his arms in triumph, and then spiked his bat in celebration with a Game 3 homer against Strider.

Hoskins is out for the regular season for the NL champions with a torn ACL — he was in the dugout for this one — but the moment lived on Tuesday when it was replayed on the videoboard. Strider (8-2) didn’t get rocked in this start, he just nimbly pitched out of jams until the fifth and helped the Braves win their seventh straight game.

The Phillies, coming off a 6-1 trip, wasted leadoff hits in the first, third and two straight in the fourth before Nick Castellanos continued his All-Star push with an RBI single for a 1-0 lead.

Strider lasted just 2 1/3 innings in Game 3. But in the regular season, Strider continues to flummox the Phillies and improved to 6-0 over seven career games and six starts. Strider didn't allow a walk, a rebound from his last two outings when he gave up a combined 13 runs.

“Hopefully, this is one that gets him going,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

Raisel Iglesias gave up a run in the ninth but struck out Kyle Schwarber with the tying run on base to pick up his 10th save.

The Braves and Phillies both entered 13-2 over their last 15 games, a sizzling stretch of success for teams that had done little to nudge the Phillies toward the top of the NL East. They fell to nine games out of first in the division and may find a path to the postseason again goes through the wild card.

The Braves built their cushion on the strength of a favorable schedule, having played Colorado, Washington, Detroit and the Mets over their last four series. After three in Philly, Atlanta heads to Cincinnati for another three-game set.

“It's kind of what of we expected," Olson said. “Everybody in here understands the team we are. It feels like we're taking the next step to reaching our potential.”

Ranger Suarez matched Strider in a solid outing for both starters.

Suarez struck out seven over the first 5 1/3 and cruised until Riley crushed his 12th homer of the season and tied the game 1-all. He finished the inning and has allowed only five earned runs over his last 32 2/3 innings covering his last five starts. The left-hander’s improvement since a rocky start to the season played a pivotal role in Philadelphia’s resurgence.

Phillies reliever Jeff Hoffman (0-1) surrendered a walk and single to open the seventh and Ronald Acuña Jr. lined a one-out single for a 2-1 lead. Ozzie Albies followed with an RBI groundout.

Olson hit a solo shot in the eighth.


Harper, who has served exclusively as the designated hitter since his return from Tommy John surgery, could play first base not long after the All-Star break in early July.

Any chance at all Harper makes an earlier return to the field?

“He's made me a liar so many times because he's such a quick healer,” manager Rob Thomson said, laughing. “I don't know.”

Harper said after he went 2-for-4 with two strikeouts it was too early to tell if he could return at all this season to his natural spot in right field.


The Braves send RHP AJ Smith-Shawver (1-0, 2.03 ERA) to the mound against Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.66 ERA).


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