Run-starved Braves try to avoid sweep vs. Phils
(SportsNetwork.com) - For how poorly the Atlanta Braves have been playing lately, they're still in the hunt for a postseason spot.
The Braves hope their luck changes and will try to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the NL East-rival Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday afternoon at Turner Field, where they have been outscored, 11-0, in the first two games.
Atlanta, which is 1 1/2 games off a wild card berth, was no-hit by the Phillies in Monday's 7-0 loss, then dropped a 4-0 decision Tuesday night. The Braves mustered three hits, two of which came off the bat of Jason Heyward, and starting pitcher Mike Minor gave up three runs and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings for the loss.
"We are all concerned with winning, but I don't think anybody is panicking," Minor said. "We're a great team. None of us are really pressured into winning. We just want to go out there and try our best and do our best every night."
Heyward has 20 multi-hit games in his past 44 contests, dating back to July 8.
The Braves have lost three of four games since winning three in a row, and have scored just one run over the last 36 innings, going back to the eighth inning of Friday's 5-2 win over Miami.
After this series finale with the Phillies, Atlanta will embark on a nine-game road trip against Miami, Washington and Texas. The Braves are seven games behind the Nationals for the NL East lead.
Braves outfielder Justin Upton left Tuesday's game with a bruised left triceps after he was hit by a pitch. He was replaced by Ryan Doumit in the sixth inning and is day-to-day. Upton is batting .286 with 26 homers and 91 RBI.
Ervin Santana has pitched six or more innings 23 times in 26 starts this season and draws the start for Atlanta Wednesday afternoon. Santana is 6-1 in his last seven decisions and 8-2 in the previous 10, but did not factor in the outcome of a 5-2 win over Miami last Friday with six innings of one-run ball.
Santana struck out seven batters for a second straight outing and issued a season high-tying four walks. The right-hander has given up just one run in each of his past two starts and hasn't lost at home since June 17 versus the Phillies, who reached him for four runs -- three earned -- in six innings of a 5-2 victory. Santana is 6-0 in his last seven home starts and 9-2 in 13 appearances at Turner Field.
In four starts against the Phillies this season, Santana has a 2-1 mark with a 3.28 ERA. He is 3-1 in five career starts with a 2.56 ERA in this series.
Philadelphia has won nine of its last 12 games and received a strong performance from starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick in last night's win. Kendrick threw seven shutout innings and scattered three hits with four strikeouts and two walks, while Ken Giles and Antonio Bastardo each hurled a scoreless inning of relief.
"Obviously it feels good," Kendrick said. "What happened yesterday, I'm sure they were going to come out and be aggressive. I made some quality pitches. Guys made some good plays, got a couple of ground balls, that was big. I was mostly just trying to get ahead, strike one."
Carlos Ruiz homered and finished with two RBI and both Ben Revere and Darin Ruf added two hits for the Phillies, who are 3-2 on a nine-game road trip that resumes Friday against the Nationals. Revere has three straight multi-hit games.
Phillies prospect Maikel Franco, who was called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make his major league debut, started at third base in place of usual starter Cody Asche. Franco had a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
David Buchanan will make his 16th start for the Phillies Wednesday and is 6-7 with a 4.03 earned run average. Buchanan is winless (0-2) in his past four outings -- all Philadelphia losses -- and did not receive a decision in last Friday's 4-1 road loss to the New York Mets.
Buchanan pitched very well and limited the hosts to just a run and four hits over six innings. He has only allowed more than three runs twice this season.
The right-hander is 2-4 in seven road starts and lost his first meeting with the Braves on June 29 in a 3-2 setback at Citizens Bank Park. Buchanan gave up three runs across five innings of work in that one.
Atlanta is 8-7 against Philadelphia this season.
09/03 07:39:45 ET