All along, the Philadelphia Phillies represented the greatest challenge to the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. That's because the Phillies have a starting rotation and the Braves really don't.
That played out again Saturday as Phillies' starter Zach Eflin easily outpitched Atlanta's starter Josh Tomlin. Eflin only gave up a solo home run in his seven innings of work, while Tomlin gave up four runs in 4.1 innings.
And this time, the Braves could not do damage on the Phillies' bullpen. They had the tying run at the plate down three runs in the ninth inning, but Marcell Ozuna flew out to center, while Nick Markakis lined out to first to end the game.
The Phillies 4-1 win came from the three-run home run Rhys Hoskins had in the fifth inning off Tomlin, who had two walks and one strikeout.
Eflin allowed four hits and only the home run by Johan Camargo in the fifth inning. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight.
Philadelphia's two starters in this series have allowed three runs on 10 hits in 12.2 innings, with one walk and 11 strikeouts. Atlanta's two starting pitchers have allowed eight runs on nine hits in 8.1 innings, with four walks and four strikeouts.
Alex Anthopoulos' phone just heated up, as he has less than 48 hours now from the August 31 trade deadline.
Atlanta once again got great relief pitching, as Tyler Matzek and Grant Dayton combined for 3.2 scoreless innings, with no walks and three strikeouts.
The Braves end the series with the Phillies Sunday night at 7:08 p.m. ET on the ESPN Sunday night game. Huascar Ynoa will start for the Braves, while Jake Arrieta (2-3, 4.32) goes for Philadelphia.
Atlanta (18-14) and Philadelphia (14-14) are now tied in the loss column. The Braves lead the Phillies by two games in the NL East.
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