Braves continue N.L. East championship celebration with sweep of Phillies
ATLANTA (AP) - Lane Adams homered and drove in two runs, Anibal Sanchez won for the first time in nine starts and the Atlanta Braves used a lineup of reserves to win their fifth straight game, 2-1 over the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
The loss dropped Philadelphia from postseason contention. Atlanta, the first NL team to qualify for the playoffs, eliminated the Phillies from the NL East race on Saturday. The Braves have the second-best record in the NL at 88-68 and could earn home-field advantage in the NL Division Series during the final week of the season.
The Braves mostly rested their regulars against ace Aaron Nola (16-6). Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis each had one at-bat before walking off the field to standing ovations before the start of the second. Ozzie Albies grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and Ronald Acuna Jr. flew out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Adams, filling in for center fielder Ender Inciarte, had an RBI double in the second and hit his second homer in the fifth.
Sanchez (7-6) further secured his role as Atlanta's No. 3 starter for the division series behind Mike Foltynewicz and Kevin Gausman, allowing four hits, one run and one walk in five innings. Sanchez won for the first time since Aug. 3 and has a 3.09 ERA over that span.
Scott Kingery's eighth homer for Philadelphia tied it at 1-all in the third. The Phillies were swept in a four-game series in Atlanta for the first time since 1997.
Nola gave up four hits, two runs and one walk with six strikeouts in six innings. He has surrendered nine homers in five starts this month and is 1-3 with a 4.55 ERA over that span.
Reliever Max Fried allowed three baseunners in the sixth and seventh for Atlanta. Sam Freeman faced the minimum in the eighth.
Shane Carle pitched a shaky ninth to earn his first career save in two chances. He walked two batters and hit Kingery with a pitch before Wilson Ramos grounded out to end it.
Nola has fallen off in September, but he's still having a career-best season. He avoided injuries to surpass 200 innings for the first time and ranks second in the NL with a 2.45 ERA.
Atlanta has been waiting for Adam Duvall, who went 1-for-3 Sunday, to seize the role as the team's primary source of right-handed power off the bench. But he's been a bust, hitting .104 with no RBIs in 31 games, a span 48 at-bats, since coming over in a trade with Cincinnati.
Sanchez got his first hit since April 9, 2014, a span of 54 at-bats, with a single in the third. He crossed first base with his arms in the air as the Braves' dugout celebrated.
The Braves, playing their last regular-season home game, announced 2,555,782 tickets sold. Their home average of 31,519 fans ranks 12th in the majors in just the second season at SunTrust Park. The Braves have been better on the road (45-30) than at home (43-38).
Phillies RHP Zach Eflin (11-7, 4.09 ERA) will try to win his third straight start as Philadelphia opens a four-game series Monday at Colorado. Braves manager Brian Snitker has yet to say who will start Tuesday when Atlanta begins a three-game series at the New York Mets.