A day after Vince Velasquez ended his 2016 campaign with a solid outing, Jake Thompson provided Phillies fans with some more reason for hope among the team’s young rotation in one of his final starts of the season.
Too bad his team’s anemic offense provided no support in a 2-0 loss to Atlanta Sunday afternoon.
The Phillies, now losers in six straight and 10 of 12, were swept yet again, marking their first back-to-back series sweeps since June 15-20.
For just the fourth time in franchise history, the Phillies had a winless homestand of six or more games. They averaged 1.83 runs (11 total) during the six-game losing streak.
The offense had its opportunities against Braves starter Julio Teheran, but couldn’t convert.
Starting pitching report
Thompson followed up his best start of the year with a better one Sunday.
A 1-2-3 first inning by the young righty featured a great defensive play by him and two strikeouts.
His lone blemish on the day came in the second inning, when Kemp’s 28th home run of the year gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Kemp waited on an 0-1 changeup and belted it into the seats in left-center.
But Thompson settled in afterward, retiring the next three Braves hitters in order. He had retired seven straight before Freddie Freeman’s one-out double in the top of the fourth inning. Thompson was able to strike out Kemp and got Nick Markakis to ground out to end the threat.
Thompson got into trouble again in the sixth inning. Back-to-back walks to Freeman and Kemp loaded the bases with one out and brought pitching coach Bob McClure to the mound. But Thompson got Markakis to ground into a double play to escape trouble.
The Braves loaded the bases again in the seventh with two outs, but Adonis Garcia slowly grounded out to Maikel Franco and Thompson’s outing was finished with just one run allowed.
Thompson threw 100 pitches, 61 for strikes. He allowed four hits and four walks (one intentional) while striking out six.
Michael Mariot allowed a Freeman homer to lead off the top of the eighth inning.
The Braves loaded the bases on David Hernandez with one out in the top of the ninth, but Hernandez worked out of trouble to keep the Phillies close.
At the plate
The batting order looked different than it had all year. Maikel Franco batted second for the first time since September 24, 2014.
But the offense remained the same old lackluster group its been of late.
Teheran dominated the Phillies early on. He didn’t allow a hit until Franco’s first-pitch single led off the fourth inning.
An inning later, in the bottom of the fifth, the Phils wasted a major scoring opportunity. A Freddy Galvis single and Peter Bourjos double had runners on second and third with one out. But Teheran struck out Thompson and — after hitting Cesar Hernandez with a pitch — induced a slow chopper to third off the bat of Franco to end the threat.
The Phillies loaded the bases again in the sixth on singles from Cameron Rupp and Darin Ruf and a two-out walk issued to Aaron Altherr. But Bourjos was a bit unlucky, blasting a line drive right at Markakis in right field to end the inning.
The Phillies sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth and sixth innings, combined. But failed to score.
Teheran’s day was finished after six innings and 109 pitches. He allowed five hits, struck out seven and walked two.
The Phillies, who left nine runners on base, didn't register a hit against the Atlanta bullpen. Jim Johnson struck out the side in the ninth inning for his 15th save.
In the field
Thompson had one of the best defensive plays of the game. Atlanta leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte attempted to bunt for a base hit and executed a decent bunt, but Thompson hustled off the mound, gathered the ball and fired over to Tommy Joseph to get Inciarte.
Later, in the top of the third, Joseph ranged into foul territory along the first base side and made a catch up against the fence.
The Phillies fly to Miami Sunday and kick off a seven-game road trip Monday against the Marlins. Jerad Eickhoff (9-13, 3.90 ERA) faces RHP Jake Esch (0-0, 4.15) in the series opener.