Phillies offense breaks out in 12-2 rout of Morton, Braves
ATLANTA (AP) — Odúbel Herrera hit a three-run homer in Philadelphia’s six-run first inning and the streaking Phillies beat Charlie Morton and the Atlanta Braves 12-2 on Friday night in their top-scoring game this season.
Boosted by the return of Jean Segura and Bryce Harper from injuries, the Phillies set a season high with 16 hits.
J.T. Realmuto had three hits, including a two-run homer, and Segura drove in two runs with four hits. The Phillies stretched their winning streak to five games.
“It was a great day for me and it was a great day for the team, too,” Segura said.
Herrera is attempting to claim the starting job in centerfield, an unstable position for the Phillies this season.
“We’ve just seen better swings and the ball jumping off his bat gap to gap,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “That was a big three-run homer for him tonight, and us.”
Herrera’s emergence as a power hitter could add depth to the Phillies’ lineup.
“You’ve got me hitting seventh and Odubel eighth,” Segura said. “It shows you how deep a lineup we have. It’s one of the best lineups I’ve ever played with.”
The attendance was 38,952 as the Braves allowed 100% capacity for the first time since before the coronavirus pandemic. The big crowd was not a sellout but almost doubled the season’s previous high of 20,673 against Arizona on April 25.
Zach Eflin (2-1) gave up a second-inning home run to Dansby Swanson. It was a rare mistake for Eflin, who allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts.
Morton (2-2) didn’t survive the first inning, recording only two outs. All six runs were unearned, thanks to a passed ball by rookie William Contreras that allowed Rhys Hoskins to reach on a strikeout. Alec Bohm’s bases-loaded single drove in the first run.
Morton was pulled by manager Brian Snitker after walking Eflin.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow when you get taken out in the first inning,” Morton said. “It’s not like he took me out after giving up a couple runs. He took me out after I gave up six runs.”
Segura had a two-run single in the first in his return from the 10-day injured list with a right quadriceps strain. Harper had two hits, including a double, after missing four games with a sore left wrist.
Ronald Acuña Jr. dropped a soft single into right field in the fifth to drive in Swanson, who doubled past a diving Harper.
Realmuto homered in the eighth off Carl Edwards Jr., who allowed three runs while recording only one out.
Josh Tomlin allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings behind Morton to save excessive wear on Atlanta’s bullpen.
Phillies: OF Mickey Moniak, hitting .120, was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to clear a roster spot for Segura. ... RHP Archie Bradley (oblique) was expected to throw a side session. Manager Joe Girardi said Bradley will throw again before a decision is made on his status. “After each side you have to evaluate where he’s at physically,” Girardi said.
Braves: The Braves selected the contract of Edwards. He signed as a free agent with Atlanta in February and was released on March 25 before re-signing one week later. ... RHP Edgar Santana was optioned to Gwinnett and RHP Nate Jones was designated for assignment.
CLOSER TO NORMAL
Snitker said lifting the limit on ticket sales was a sign of progress.
“It’s going to be good for all of us,” Snitker said before the game. “It’s another step toward normalcy.”
There was a mixed response from fans to the Braves’ request that face masks be worn except when actively eating or drinking.
The Braves offered free tickets to fans who received COVID-19 vaccinations before and during the game.
WALK THIS WAY
Eflin’s first-inning walk off Morton was the first of his career.
“I didn’t know it was the first of my career,” Eflin said. “I know I’m not a walker.”
He entered the game with a .141 career batting average with 84 strikeouts.
Atlanta’s Ian Anderson (2-1, 3.27) will face Philadelphia’s Vince Velasquez (1-0, 4.91) in a matchup of right-handers when the weekend series continues on Saturday night.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports