ATLANTA -- Howie Kendrick homered and Odubel Herrera added another key extra-base hit as the Phillies manufactured enough damage against a recently stingy Jaime Garcia to claim their fourth straight victory, a 3-1 win over the Braves on Tuesday night at SunTrust Park.
Cesar Hernandez and Herrera recorded consecutive doubles to begin a decisive two-run sixth inning that provided sufficient support for Aaron Nola, who surrendered a first-inning run and then blanked the Braves over the remainder of his eight-inning effort. Herrera had two doubles in each of the previous three games, becoming the first Phillies player to do so.
"I can't say enough about Nola," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "[Pitching coach Bob] McClure and I had a meeting with him and [Jerad Eickhoff] the other day and we challenged them to pitch better -- it was as simple as that -- and boy, did he rise to the challenge. He was outstanding."
Kendrick's game-tying solo homer with two outs in the fourth accounted for Philadelphia's first baserunner and the first earned run Garcia had surrendered over a span of 22 innings. The homer traveled a projected 417 feet with an exit velocity of 106 mph -- the fifth hardest home run Kendrick has hit during the Statcast™ era.
As the Braves were handed their fourth straight home loss for the third time this season, they received yet another encouraging start from Garcia, who allowed three earned runs and eight hits over 7 2/3 innings. The lefty has pitched into the seventh and allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his past four outings.
"It was a great job," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "I think he hung one [slider] to Kendrick. It wasn't like they were banging him all around."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sudden production: After Hernandez and Herrera opened the sixth with doubles, Kendrick followed with a single to put runners at the corners with none out. Before quieting the threat with a strikeout of Tommy Joseph, Garcia was charged with a run-scoring balk as he attempted a pickoff move to first base. This marked the second straight start he was called for a balk. He had just three balks through his previous 156 career starts.
"I don't know what happened," Garcia said. "They called a balk on me the last game and he was just trying to be smart right there. I don't agree. You do what you've got to do. It is what it is."
Finding a groove: Nola seemed to be heading toward a third straight disappointing start when Brandon Phillips doubled and scored on Nick Markakis' one-out single in the first. But the Braves didn't put another runner in scoring position until the fifth, when Dansby Swanson singled and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Swanson was left stranded when Nola induced a popout from Ender Inciarte, who had combined to go 7-for-7 on Sunday and Monday.
"Overall, I felt good," Nola said. "It was definitely a good bounceback for me. I want to keep this win streak rolling." More >
"He was changing speeds and the breaking ball kept breaking. He had a decent change. He could go and get a little extra when he needed to. He's a good little pitcher." -- Snitker, on Nola
"I won't decide that. The only issue with [Hector Neris] is he's hanging too many splits. His split doesn't have the same action that it did last year. We've got to figure that out. Because when he's got that real good spilt, he's unhittable. He just doesn't have it right now." -- Mackanin, on whether Pat Neshek could begin closing games after earning the save Tuesday
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Since winning the first four games at SunTrust Park, the Braves have lost 14 of 20 at their new home park. Their pitchers have produced a 6.00 ERA within this 20-game span.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (0-6, 5.13 ERA) pitches against the Braves on Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. ET in the third game of a four-game series at SunTrust Park. Eickhoff has struggled recently, posting a 6.94 ERA in his past seven starts.
Braves: Mike Foltynewicz (3-5, 3.90 ERA) will take the mound when this four-game series against Philadelphia resumes Wednesday. The righty matched a career-best 10 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings on Friday in Cincinnati.