Phillies break out with 3 HRs to beat Braves

Phillies break out with 3 HRs to beat Braves

ATLANTA -- The Phillies entered Thursday having lost nine of their past 13 games, while their offense had not scored more than four runs in a game since the All-Star break. But in a 7-5 win over the Braves at Turner Field, the Phillies snapped their recent run-scoring drought, registering a five-run first inning and three homers.

Matt Wisler put Atlanta in a first-inning hole when he allowed a three-run home run to Maikel Franco. Tommy Joseph followed with a solo shot, marking the fourth time this year the Phillies have hit back-to-back homers. Two more batters reached base before Wisler recorded the first out of the game on his 27th pitch.

"That's what you kind of like to have," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "When 3-4-5 come up, you hope the other team gets nervous."

The Braves right-hander settled in after that, retiring 13 of the next 15 batters. But after giving up a two-out single to Joseph in the fifth, Aaron Altherr hit a two-run homer to give Philadelphia a 7-0 lead.

Altherr's two-run tater

Aaron Nola held Atlanta scoreless until the fifth, when Freddie Freeman sparked a three-run inning with an RBI double. The Braves tallied a run in the sixth and ninth innings, but it wasn't enough, as they fell to 3-7 against the Phillies this year.

"It's just hard when you get down," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "The biggest pitch was the two-run homer [Wisler] gave up. You can live with the five [runs in the first inning] and then he settled in, but that was huge right there I thought. Five is doable with all of the at-bats we had left."

Aybar's spinning catch

Welcome back, Aaron: The Phillies expected Altherr to be an everyday outfielder this season, but he tore a tendon in his left wrist in March. He rejoined the Phillies on Thursday and in his first game back, he singled and scored in the first, hit a two-run homer in the fifth and singled in the seventh.

"Definitely, especially sitting around thinking about how that first game's going to be being back," Altherr said, asked if this was the perfect season debut. "For it to be like that it was definitely special." More >

Altherr on Phillies' 7-5 win

Wisler's woes continue: Wisler surrendered only six home runs in his first 68 1/3 innings this year. But after giving up three homers on Thursday, the right-hander has allowed 16 over his past 53 2/3 innings. With a 7.15 ERA over his past seven starts, the 23-year-old has looked more like the pitcher from late last season than the one that posted a 2.93 ERA through his first nine starts this year. In the wake of Wisler's struggles, the Braves optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Gwinnett after the game.

"I didn't pitch very well the last month and a half, so I definitely know I've earned the demotion," Wisler said. "There's nothing they can do about that. It's on me. I've got to go fight and go back down there and try to earn my way back up." More >

Wisler fans Franco

Nola is up and down: Nola continues to search for consistency. He has a 9.82 ERA in his last eight starts after allowing three runs in five innings against the Braves, finding himself in trouble much of the night. In three of his first four innings he retired the first two batters he faced before putting runners on base. Odubel Herrera then lost a ball in the lights to start the fifth, which led to a three-run inning. Still, Nola picked up his first win since June 5.

"He's not the same guy," Mackanin said. "He's just struggling with command once again. He's not dotting his fastball like he normally does. His curveball is erratic. He needs to get back on track." More >

Nola's five solid innings

Garcia keeps grooving: After extending his on-base streak to 18 games when he was hit by a pitch in the first inning, Adonis Garcia later improved his career-best hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single in the fifth. An inning later, the Atlanta third baseman drove in another run on a double. During his hitting streak, Garcia is batting .415 (17-for-41) with four doubles, three homers and six RBIs.

"He's just been swinging that bat really well," Snitker said. "He's been on fire. He's real aggressive. He's not missing his pitch and he's swinging the bat really well."

Garcia's run-scoring double

"I played golf with him last year in the spring when he wasn't even on the radar. God, can he hit a driver. They're real high and they just carry. It's unbelievable. So I knew he had power. Then, when you watch him take BP, the sound that the ball makes coming off his bat is different than the other guys'." -- Mackanin, on Joseph's homer to center in the first

Franco is on pace to hit 29 home runs. If he can hit 30, he would be the first Phillies third baseman to hit 30 or more homers in a season since Scott Rolen hit 31 in 1998.

Wisler's rough first inning concluded with a double play that was awarded after the Braves successfully challenged that shortstop Erick Aybar tagged Carlos Ruiz before stepping on the second-base bag to record a force out. Ruiz would not have been forced to third base had Aybar first stepped on the bag before applying the quick tag.

Braves turn two after challenge

The Braves were not as fortunate in the eighth inning when they unsuccessfully challenged Garcia's throw beat Cody Asche to first base. The original safe call was confirmed, resulting in an infield single.

Asche's single stands

Phillies: Vince Velasquez (8-2, 3.34 ERA) faces the Braves in the second game of a four-game series Friday at Turner Field at 7:35 p.m. ET. He is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five starts since returning from the disabled list in June because of a strained right biceps.

Braves: Tyrell Jenkins will look to bounce back from the roughest outing of his young career on Friday against the Phillies. The right-hander struggled with his fastball command on Sunday against the Rockies, allowing seven runs on eight hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings.

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Pat James is a reporter for based in Atlanta.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.