ATLANTA -- In a matchup between two of the top pitchers who could potentially be moved before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, Jeremy Hellickson outdueled Julio Teheran on Saturday night at Turner Field, as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 9-5.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Cameron Rupp, but Atlanta quickly stormed back. Nick Markakis drove in Jace Peterson with a single to tie the game in the third before Adonis Garcia handed the Braves their only lead with an RBI single in the next at-bat.
Teheran appeared to settle in after the second inning, retiring eight straight batters before running into trouble in the fifth. With runners on first and second, Hellickson provided his own support, doubling down the left-field line to score both and give the Phillies a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Opposing pitchers were 3-for-34 vs. Teheran this year before the at-bat.
"The big hit for me was Hellickson's double after he couldn't get a bunt down," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.
After the Phillies scored two more runs in the sixth, the Braves cut the deficit to 5-3 and knocked Hellickson out of the game on Anthony Recker's RBI single in the bottom of the frame. After surrendering four runs on no hits to the Phillies in the eighth, Atlanta couldn't mount a comeback despite scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame. It fell to 8-4 against Philadelphia this season.
"[Until that inning], we were right there," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "It just didn't happen in that inning, pretty much. We could have kind of kept the game right there in the eighth, but there were just a couple of tough plays that didn't go our way."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Hellickson's final audition: Scouts got a final look at Hellickson before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Hellickson did not pitch his best, allowing nine hits and three runs in just 5 2/3 innings, although he doubled down the left-field line in the fifth inning to score two runs and give the Phillies a 3-2 lead, but he also bruised his pitching hand during the same at-bat. The bruise made it difficult to grip his curveball and cut his outing short.
"Still not really sure what it is," Hellickson said. "A bruise. Or I popped something in there. But I felt fine, though, after I did it." More >
Teheran's troubles: After going only four innings in his start vs. the Rockies on July 22 because of a tight lat muscle in his back, Teheran struggled with bouts of inconsistency in his first outing since the injury. The right-hander bounced back after giving up a run in the second inning, but he labored through the Phillies' two-run fifth, throwing 32 pitches. The long inning ended Teheran's night after 86 pitches, marking the first time since April 17 and 23, 2015, that he pitched five innings or fewer in back-to-back starts.
"I didn't feel anything like I felt last game, and that's something good to know," Teheran said. "But just the one mistake I made [on the pitch to Hellickson] -- I think I was doing well until that point."
"I'll just say this," Mackanin said, "when you score four runs without a hit, you better win that game." More >
Inciarte stays hot: With his 2-for-4 effort on Saturday night, Ender Inciarte extended his hitting streak to a season-best 11 games. Since the All-Star break, the Atlanta outfielder is batting .321 (18-for-56) and has recorded two or more hits in a game four times after doing so on three occasions in his final 25 games before the break.
"I can't control any of it. So I've just been focused on every start and in-between starts. Whatever happens, happens. Hopefully I'm still here on Tuesday. " -- Hellickson, on the Trade Deadline
Atlanta reliever Matt Marksberry departed with an apparent injury after recording two outs and surrendering a pair of hits in the ninth inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (6-12, 3.83 ERA) pitches the finale of a four-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET against the Braves at Turner Field. Eickhoff has been inconsistent lately, but he allowed five hits and one run in seven innings last week against the Marlins in Miami. He is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts against the Braves.
Braves: Atlanta will turn to Joel De La Cruz to assume Lucas Harrell's spot in the starting rotation for Sunday's series finale. De La Cruz has made his past seven appearances out of the bullpen -- most recently pitching 2/3 of an inning on Thursday vs. the Phillies -- after going 0-2 with a 5.25 ERA in his first two career starts.