Rhys Hoskins has set a very high standard for himself in three weeks in the major leagues. So his teammates didn't feel the need to break out the top-shelf atta-boys when all he did was double home the go-ahead run in the Phillies' 6-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night (see Instant Replay).
"I didn't even want to give him a high five," Cameron Rupp deadpanned. "I said, 'Dude, that's not good enough.' I mean, look what he's been doing the last 10 days."
Rupp had a point. Hoskins had slugged himself into the game's national spotlight by smacking 11 homers in his first 64 big-league at-bats, faster than anyone in major-league history. Hoskins' home run streak ended at five straight games Monday night, but he still managed the game's biggest hit. His first-pitch double down the left-field line with one out in the sixth inning gave the Phils a 2-1 lead.
"I told him I’m not mad at him," manager Pete Mackanin said. "The double was OK. If you’re not going to hit a home run, I’ll take a double."
The double left Hoskins with a 10-game hitting streak and 25 RBIs in his first 19 games.
Not too shabby.
"He's fun to watch," winning pitcher Aaron Nola said.
Hoskins' sixth-inning double scored Nick Williams, another rookie who's swinging it pretty well. Williams preceded Hoskins' double with a double of his own, a line drive off the left-field wall. Williams has 18 extra-base hits in 40 games since the All-Star break.
Rupp's solo homer in the seventh provided the Phillies with some insurance as they beat Atlanta for the 12th time in 14 games this season.
Nola bounced back from two shaky outings to pitch seven innings of one-run, walk-free ball. He struck out six. He was backed by good defense, particularly from Freddy Galvis, Maikel Franco and Williams.
"He threw all his pitches for strikes," Mackanin said. "He did a great job locating. It sounds like a broken record but location, location, location. That’s what it’s all about. He had good movement on his fastball. Good breaking ball, good changeup."
Said Nola: "I think first-pitch strikes and getting the leadoff hitter out was a big key for me tonight."
Nola also came through at the plate. He singled with one out in the third to drive home Pedro Florimon with the Phillies' first run after Florimon had tripled.
The RBI was just the second of Nola's career and first since 2015, his rookie season. The hit was his second of the season, breaking an 0-for-35 drought, dating to his first start of the season.
"I was trying to put the ball in play there," Nola said. "Guy on third, one out — I didn't want to strike out."
On the mound, Nola picked up his 10th win of the season. The right-hander has beaten Atlanta twice this season, holding the Braves to two runs in 15 innings. He has walked just one batter over that span and struck out 12.
Nola's success against the Braves has mirrored his team's success against that club. Nearly a quarter of the Phillies' wins have come against he Braves. The Phils are 49-81 overall and 12-2 against the Braves.
"It’s hard to say," said Mackanin, searching for a reason for his team's dominance of Atlanta. "Sometimes that just happens and other times, there’s certain teams that you just can’t beat and nothing seems to go your way. I can’t figure it out."
Rupp had a simple explanation for the Phillies' mastery of Atlanta.
"We've got their number, you know," he said. "We've played well against them. We've played good baseball. I don’t think our mentality is any different than when anybody else comes to town. It just seems like we have their number this year.
"I wish we played them every night."
That's not going to happen. But the Phils do play them two more times this week.