The Phillies completed a rousing opening weekend of the season with 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.
The Phils took all three games against the defending NL East champions to notch their first season-opening sweep since 2011, which marked their last winning season and trip to the playoffs.
Four days into the new season, the Phils are the only team in baseball without a loss.
Once again, the Phils showed power as Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper homered. The Phils had eight homers in the series. Fifteen of the 23 runs that they scored in the series came on homers.
Harper had his best game yet. In addition to the homer, he doubled and walked twice.
Unlike the first two games of the series, this one was not a sellout, but the attendance was still strong — 41,410 on a cold and blustery night. Total attendance for the three games was 130,476.
• McCutchen tied the game with a solo home run leading off the third inning. The Phillies’ new left fielder homered twice in the series, both on the first swing of an at-bat.
• J.T. Realmuto drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but he made his biggest impact behind the plate, gunning down would-be base stealers in the first and sixth innings.
• Rhys Hoskins drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. Atlanta pitching walked three and hit a batter in that inning.
On the night, Braves’ pitchers walked nine batters and hit two.
Jake Arrieta’s season debut was not pretty. He walked six batters and hit another in six innings of work. Just 55 of his 104 pitches were strikes. But on a difficult night to pitch, Arrieta never gave in and his ability to hold the Braves one run was key.
What was that?
Atlanta starter Kyle Wright walked three straight batters with two outs in the first inning, setting up Odubel Herrera with the bases loaded. The situation begged for Herrera to be selective, maybe even take a pitch. So what happened? Herrera swung through a first-pitch changeup in the dirt and proceeded to strike out on four pitches, leaving the bases loaded.
Sights and sounds
Arrieta provided one of the game’s most entertaining moments when he battled Wright through an 11-pitch at-bat leading off the bottom of the fifth. Arrieta fouled off six pitches, including four in a row, before lining out to center field. With each foul ball, the crowd became more and more animated to the point where fans were on their feet for the final pitch. They gave Arrieta a standing ovation on his way back to the dugout.
In the seventh inning, after Harper homered and Hoskins was plunked with a pitch that resulted in reliever Shane Carle’s ejection, the fans did the Tomahawk Chop to mock the Braves.
The Phillies are off on Monday.
They open a quick but hotly anticipated two-game series in Washington on Tuesday night. The series marks Harper’s return to D.C. Zach Eflin will oppose Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the series opener.
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