Simmons, Freeman power Braves past Phillies, 7-5
ATLANTA (AP) Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons gave the Atlanta Braves a confidence boost to cap a long-awaited series win.
Simmons had three hits, including a homer, Freeman drove in three runs with three hits and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-5 on Wednesday night.
Including leadoff hitter Nick Markakis, who had two hits and drove in two runs, the first three batters in Atlanta's lineup had eight hits, six RBIs and four runs.
The Braves won back-to-back games for the first time since their 5-0 start. They are off Thursday before opening a series at Washington.
''Going into Washington, you wanted to feel good with a couple wins back-to-back,'' Freeman said.
The Braves (14-14) won their first series since taking two of three at Toronto April 17-19.
Simmons, hitting second, raised his average to .292. He has hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games, including six straight, but he wouldn't say he was on a roll.
''I don't want to say that because whenever you say that things go south,'' Simmons said.
Philadelphia's Ryan Howard homered and Ben Revere had four hits, including a career-high three doubles. The Phillies have lost seven of nine.
Jason Grilli allowed one run on one walk and two hits in the ninth. Darrin Ruf's single drove in Revere, who led off with a single. Grilli struck out Odubel Herrera to clinch his ninth save in 10 chances.
''We had the tying run in striking distance, we just came up a little bit short,'' Howard said.
Simmons hit a first-inning homer off Jerome Williams (2-2). The Braves took the lead for good on Freeman's run-scoring double in the fourth.
Mike Foltynewicz (2-0), making his second career start, allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings.
Foltynewicz led 6-1 before tiring in the sixth, when the Phillies scored three runs.
Williams was lifted with one out in the fifth and allowed a season-high six runs on eight hits.
The Braves led 2-1 before battering Williams in the fifth. Jace Peterson led off the inning with a liner up the middle. Williams had to fall to the mound to avoid being hit. It was the first of five hits in the inning, including a two-run double to right field by Freeman off reliever Jake Diekman.
''It hit my glove,'' said Williams of Peterson's drive. ''It was probably three or four inches away from my face. But I'm supposed to catch that.''
Foltynewicz drove in a run with a fly ball and Nick Markakis had a run-scoring single.
Freeman also doubled in the fourth to drive in Simmons, who doubled as well.
Williams' ERA rose to 5.18 in his shortest outing since lasting four innings at Cleveland on Aug. 1, 2014, with the Rangers. He fell to 0-2 in three career starts at Turner Field.
The Braves recalled right-hander Williams Perez from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game. Perez, a starter at Gwinnett, will pitch in middle relief and be available for a long outing, if needed. Right-hander Michael Kohn was optioned to Gwinnett.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was held out for the second straight day as he continues to take what manager Ryne Sandberg described as a mental rest. Utley is hitting .103. Sandberg said batting practice for Utley was optional during his break.
Phillies: After an off day on Thursday, the Phillies launch a 10-game homestand when they face Matt Harvey and the New York Mets on Friday night. Cole Hamels (1-3) will start for Philadelphia.
Braves: Atlanta opens a weekend series at Washington on Friday night when LHP Eric Stults (1-2) faces LHP Gio Gonzalez. Stults' only win this season came at home against the Nationals on April 27.