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Pivetta throws 7 scoreless innings, Phillies top Braves 3-0
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Pivetta throws 7 scoreless innings, Phillies top Braves 3-0

Pivetta throws 7 scoreless innings, Phillies top Braves 3-0
Photo Credit: Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Pivetta pitches during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Williams rounds the bases after hitting a home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia Phillies' Nick Williams hits a home run off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Foltynewicz during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Atlanta Braves' Mike Foltynewicz pitches during the third inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera leaps to catch a fly-out by Atlanta Braves' Ender Inciarte during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Atlanta Braves' Mike Foltynewicz pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, May 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Pivetta throws 7 scoreless innings, Phillies top Braves 3-0

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Phillies are a win away from first place.

OK, it's May - but for a team stuck for years in the bottom of the National League, it's starting to feel a bit like September.

Nick Pivetta struck out seven over seven innings, and Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr each homered to lead the Phillies to a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

The Phillies took the opener of the three-game series and moved a half game behind Atlanta for first place in the NL East.

Philadelphia hasn't had a winning record since it made the last of five straight postseason berths in 2011. The Phillies finished last in the division and lost 96 games in 2017 - the third straight season of more than 90 losses.

"It's a big series, for sure," Altherr said. "Especially being at home, we definitely want to take these games."

Under first-year manager Gabe Kapler, the Phillies are back in a battle for first in late May for the first time since Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels dominated during the glory years. But in a year where the Eagles won the Super Bowl, Villanova won a national championship and the 76ers won 52 games, perhaps Philly fans need more than 45 games to hop on the bandwagon. Citizens Bank Park - the site of an NL-record 257 straight sellouts that ended in 2012 - was thin with just over 21,000 fans announced on a gorgeous night.

Kapler was heartened that a Braves-Phillies series has first place on the line.

"I'm a baseball fan at heart and thinking about that gives me gooesebumps," Kapler said.

The Braves played the Phillies for a whopping 10th time already, resulting in this quirk: Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz faced Pivetta for the fourth time this season.

Hard to believe, Harry.

"It was kind of amazing with the hitters seeing the guys so many times, it was just a 3-0 game," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.

The right-handers each delivered outings worthy of two teams fighting for first.

Pivetta (4-2) allowed only four hits, walked one and won his third straight start. Seranthony Dominguez tossed a scoreless eighth and Hector Neris finished the five-hitter in the ninth with his ninth save.

"Just build off the energy that we have going on in here just makes my life a lot easier," said Pivetta, who has allowed one run in his last 19 innings.

Foltynewicz (3-3) allowed six hits and struck out five in six innings. His lone run allowed came when Williams hit a solo shot in the fourth, an opposite-field poke to left for his third homer of the year. The Phillies have homered in 16 straight games.

"It's one pitch, really," Foltynewicz said. "I was upset about that, just the way Nick was throwing tonight. I was going to try and not let anybody score because of the night he was having tonight."

Altherr pinch hit for Pivetta in the seventh and crushed a two-run homer to left off Shane Carle for a 3-0 lead.

Two swings, one nice win.

"I take pride in the way a lot of our players have played," Kapler said. "I take pride in the way they've worked. I take pride in their preparation. I really love our players. I love coming to work with them every day. I ride the emotion that they ride."

The Phillies and Braves don't play again after this series until they face each other seven of the final 10 games of the season.

Maybe in September, they'll be playing for the title.

PHILLY SPECIAL

Phillies LF Rhys Hoskins gave Doug Pederson some tips before the Eagles coach took some batting practice. Pederson, enjoying the perks of winning the Super Bowl, had already thrown out the first pitch at the home opener. He won a hitting contest against some Eagles rookies before the game and earned a Louisville Slugger bat inscribed with the title, "2018 Philadelphia Eagles batting champion."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: RHP Anibal Sanchez (hamstring) made a rehab start for Triple-A Gwinnett on Monday night.

Phillies: SS J.P. Crawford (right elbow strain) fielded grounder at extended spring training. ... RHP Pat Neshek made 30 throws from flat ground as he recovers from a strained right shoulder. ... RHP Jared Eickhoff's return from a back injury suffered a setback when he felt a twinge in his right index and middle fingers during a rehab start. "I don't think we're at the stage of deciding the level of concern. I think we're at the stage of evaluating," Kapler said.

CATCH UP

Phillies C Jorge Alfaro has thrown out six of his last nine attempted base stealers. He threw out a runner at second with one out in the seventh to preserve the 1-0 lead.

UP NEXT

Braves: RHP Brandon McCarthy (4-2, 5.05 ERA) looks to improve already to 4-0 this season against the Phillies. McCarthy has a 2.25 ERA in three starts that span just 16 innings.

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (4-4, 4.37) is already 0-3 against the Braves this season. Velasquez has lasted just 12 2-3 innings in three starts this season and is 0-4 lifetime against the Braves.

___

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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  • ATLANTA (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies got the ninth-inning elixir they needed after a tough outcome a night earlier. 'There's a lot that went on that could've pushed us to not give the kind of effort that we gave,' manager Gabe Kapler said. 'A really impressive, heartfelt win by our club, a cohesive team win today. It was great.' C sar Hern ndez singled in two runs off Luke Jackson in the ninth inning, and Philadelphia rallied from a one-run deficit to snap the Atlanta Braves' eight-game winning streak with a 6-5 victory on Saturday night. It was a big comeback for the Phillies, who looked poised to lose for the fifth time in six games and fall 3 games behind their rivals in the NL East race. Philadelphia has dealt with rampant injuries this season and had starters Jay Bruce and J.T. Realmuto leave during the game. Braves starter Sean Newcomb had a scary moment in the third when he was struck on the back of the head by Realmuto's ground-rule double. He walked off the field under his own power. 'Right away I felt pretty good,' Newcomb said. 'I was with it the whole time. I remember the whole play and all that kind of stuff. I knew I was pretty good as far as that went. Obviously I got squared up in the head. A little sore.' Jackson (3-2) blew his sixth save in 16 chances as Scott Kingery singled and advanced to third when the closer fielded Sean Rodr guez's sacrifice bunt and errantly threw to first. Both runners scored easily on Hern ndez's single into left. Hern ndez hit his seventh homer in the fourth to put the Phillies up 4-2. Josh Donaldson hit a three-run homer in the fifth off Phillies starter Aaron Nola to put Atlanta up 5-4. The Braves were getting big cheers from the sellout crowd of 43,593, the largest yet in three seasons at SunTrust Park, until the ninth. H ctor Neris, who took the loss on Brian McCann's two-run single Friday night, earned his 15th save in 16 chances in the bottom half of the inning, retiring Ronald Acu a Jr., Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman in order. 'It kind of shows you what our team is capable of doing,' Bruce said. 'We have a chance to win the series tomorrow, so it was a big win for us and good bounce-back game.' Edubray Ramos (1-0) faced four batters in the eighth to earn the victory. The Phillies scored three times to take a 3-1 lead in the third against Touki Toussaint before Atlanta made it 3-2 in the third when Acu a singled, advanced to second on right fielder Bryce Harper's fielding error and scored from third on a groundout. Nola allowed five runs, six hits, two walks and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings. He has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. Atlanta led 1-0 on Austin Riley's 11th homer in 29 career games in the second. TRAINER'S ROOM Phillies: Bruce said he's been dealing with left hamstring tightness for a couple of days and likely won't be in the lineup Sunday after leaving in the fourth. ... Realmuto left the game in the sixth after feeling nauseous when he was hurt in the fifth as Freeman's foul tip glanced off his glove and smacked the catcher's upper left leg. ... Oft-injured OF Roman Quinn was hit in the shoulder by a pitch in a rehab game Friday with Double-A Reading. He has discomfort finishing his swing, but Kapler said the latest ailment is not serious. KEUCHEL Braves starter Dallas Keuchel received no decision in his last minor league start, allowing three runs, 11 hits and one walk with four strikeouts in seven innings with Double-A Mississippi, and is expected to join the Atlanta rotation next week. He will likely make his 2019 debut Friday at Washington. UP NEXT Phillies: Kapler has yet to decide who will start the series finale, but RHP Cole Irvin (2-1, 5.48) is a possibility. Braves: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 6.02 ERA) is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts and has allowed 15 homers in nine starts, a span of 49 1/3 innings. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Braves starter Sean Newcomb has left the game in a scary scene after being hit in the back of the head by a line drive off the bat of Philadelphia's J.T. Realmuto. Newcomb was checked by a trainer and walked off the field under his own power in Atlanta, escorted by two trainers Saturday. The ball was clocked at 102 mph and caromed off Newcomb's head and sailed into the netting behind the Phillies' dugout on the third base side. Realmuto covered his mouth with both hands as he ran to first base on what went as a ground-rule double. The play occurred in the third inning at SunTrust Park. Newcomb turned his head as the ball approached and knelt on the mound immediately after getting hit. Catcher Tyler Flowers had him stay down while a trainer and Braves manager Brian Snitker came out to tend to the left-hander. Touki Toussaint took Newcomb's spot. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • PEARL, Miss. (AP) - Dallas Keuchel has thrown 14 innings of minor league baseball for two teams in two states over the past six days. There were a lot of good pitches and a few bad ones, but overall he's pleased with his progress since signing with the Atlanta Braves on June 7. Next stop - he hopes - is with the big club. 'Absolutely,' Keuchel said. 'I feel like I'm there.' The 31-year-old left-hander gave up three runs and 11 hits over seven innings for Double-A Mississippi of the Southern League on Saturday. He struck out four and walked one, throwing 106 pitches, including 74 strikes. It wasn't all pretty, but Keuchel said the outing was just what he needed to get ready for his return to the big leagues. He hasn't pitched in the majors since 2018, when he had a 12-11 record and a 3.74 ERA with the Houston Astros. 'They put some balls in play on the ground, a couple in the air, a couple hard-hit balls. Almost like a regular game,' Keuchel said. 'So that was nice to see from my end for work purposes. Just trying to continue the process of making as many pitches as possible.' The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year deal that pays him $13 million. The Braves hope he can help solidify a starting rotation that's relying on several young arms. Keuchel said after the outing he felt good physically and would have a discussion with the Braves' front office and trainers to see if his next outing would be in the majors or with another minor league affiliate. 'I'm not going to jeopardize myself, first of all, because if I jeopardize myself I'm going to jeopardize the big-league team and that's not what I'm trying to do,' Keuchel said. 'I'm trying to help the club as much as possible. I'm not trying to rush myself.' Keuchel pitched seven innings of one-hit ball for Class-A Rome on Monday in his first game, but wasn't as sharp Saturday. He gave up two runs on three hits in the first inning, including a sharply hit double on the first pitch. He also fought a little bad luck during the outing: One single in the first was a weak pop fly that floated over the first baseman and past his glove. Another hit later in the game was a bouncing ball to the left side that took a funky hop and slipped between the shortstop and third baseman. 'I felt like my breaking stuff and changeup were a little inconsistent at first,' Keuchel said. 'I was a little antsy out there. The adrenaline was a little more than last time. Once I hone that in, I should be good. It was nice to compete out there.' ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Go to the Forum to read all of DawgNation’s latest recruiting nuggets. The post Discuss UGA’s big recruiting weekend in DawgNation’s Forum appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA (AP) - This is why Brian McCann came back to play for his hometown Atlanta Braves, to deliver with his bat in a big spot. 'That was one of the best moments I've ever had,' McCann said. 'To be able to get the win and the fashion that it happened is something I'll always remember.' McCann capped Atlanta's three-run ninth inning with a two-run single off Héctor Neris, and the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-8 on Friday night for their eighth straight win. Atlanta improved to 23-9 since May 10 and opened a 2 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia in the NL East. It was the first game between the division rivals since the Phillies swept three games from the Braves in late March. Most of the sellout crowd of 41,975, the largest of the season at SunTrust Park, stood on its feet after Dansby Swanson led off the ninth with a single. Nick Markakis walked with two outs, and Swanson scored on rookie Austin Riley's double. McCann then reached down and drove an opposite-field single into the gap in left-center, giving him 1,000 RBIs for his career. McCann, a seven-time All-Star who grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, spent the last five seasons in the AL, but decided to return to the team that drafted him so he could help the Braves win a World Series. 'This is home for me,' he said. 'This town, this city means a lot to me. It's where I grew up. To be able to come back home and do this is right up there with one of the best moments I've ever had.' He compared this year's Braves to his former club in Houston, which won the World Series in 2017. 'It's very special,' McCann said. 'I just think the way we show up every day. The way guys go about their business, to the preparation, we show up ready to win every single day.' Neris (1-3) was attempting to go 15 for 15 in save chances this year, but couldn't find the formula on his 30th birthday. He recorded two outs and allowed three hits in Philadelphia's fourth loss in five games. 'I have the highest level of trust in him in that situation,' manager Gabe Kapler said. 'We felt really good in the dugout about it. It's just a devastating loss. We'll lick our wounds, come back and be ready to fight again.' Jerry Blevins (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins each hit a two-run homer for the Phillies, and Scott Kingery added a solo drive. Philadelphia dropped to 34-7 this season when scoring at least four runs. It had won 15 of its last 17 previous such games. Harper, booed all night long, put Philadelphia up 3-1 in the third with his 12th homer, which sailed into the Atlanta bullpen in right-center. Kingery's eighth homer landed in the left-field seats in the fourth. Hoskins' 15th homer, coming off Dan Winkler, made it 7-2 in the seventh. Kingery, who went 3 for 4, doubled in the eighth and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4. Phillies starter Nick Pivetta allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Atlanta starter Max Fried was chased with two outs in the fifth. He was charged with five runs and seven hits, leaving him with a 7.52 ERA in his last four starts. McCann, Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson each hit a solo shot for the Braves. Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr. each had two hits. ROLLING The Braves, who have scored at least six runs in six straight games, own their first eight-game winning streak since May 17-25, 2013. TRAINER'S ROOM Phillies: RHP Seranthony Domínguez (right ulnar collateral ligament) decided not to have surgery and underwent a platelet injection instead. He will be re-evaluated in three weeks. UP NEXT Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58 ERA) is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts this month. He went 4-0 with a 2.73 ERA in six May starts. In 13 career starts against Atlanta, Nola is 8-3 with a 2.05 ERA. Braves: LHP Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.59 ERA) will make his first start since getting recalled May 4 from Triple-A Gwinnett. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports