Hector Neris

Phillies get to Dallas Keuchel this time around, hold on to win series opener over Braves

Phillies get to Dallas Keuchel this time around, hold on to win series opener over Braves

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ATLANTA — The Phillies kept their faint playoff hopes alive with a 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on Tuesday night.

The Phils got two-run homers from Rhys Hoskins and Jose Pirela — both against Atlanta’s Dallas Keuchel — and Vince Velasquez and the bullpen held the Braves to two runs over the final eight innings. All in all, it was a good way to open an 11-game road trip.

The Phillies’ bullpen survived two late homers as the Braves made it a one-run game.

Hector Neris allowed a leadoff homer in the bottom of the ninth and got the final two outs of the game with runners on the corners.

The standings

The Phillies entered the night five games out in the NL wild-card race. The victory left them with a chance to pull to within four games of the second wild-card playoff spot depending on the outcome of the Chicago Cubs-Cincinnati Reds game.

The Phils have 13 games left. They are 77-72 overall. They need five wins to have their first winning season since 2011.

Velasquez’ night

Though he lasted only five innings, Velasquez did a pretty good job for the Phillies. He had a tough first inning in which he threw 30 pitches and that prompted early action in the Phillies’ bullpen. But the right-hander maintained his composure and held the Braves to just two runs in the inning. It could have been worse, but Velasquez’ ability to limit damage was huge.

After the first inning, Velasquez racked up four scoreless innings and held the Braves to two hits.

Keuchel’s night

The left-hander who had been passed over by the Phillies earlier in the season came into the game on a big roll — five straight wins in which he’d allowed a total of just four runs.

Keuchel sailed through the first three innings then allowed a pair of infield hits and a pair of two-run homers as the Phillies rallied for five in the fourth inning to take the lead.

Hoskins hits one

There have been times this season when Hoskins has looked pull-happy at the plate. He’s a better hitter when he uses the whole field like he did in the fourth inning when he clubbed a two-run homer to right-center to tie the game at 2-2. It was his 29th homer of the season and first solidly to the opposite field. He had four opposite-field homers last season.

Hoskins did a good job staying back on a high changeup to the outside part of the plate from Keuchel. He hit the ball right where it was pitched. He has homered in back-to-back games and has nine since the All-Star break.

Pirela rewards Kapler

Looking to get right-handed bats in the game against Keuchel, manager Gabe Kapler started Sean Rodriguez at third base and Pirela in left field. (Kapler did not start Maikel Franco at third because he did not believe Franco would fare well against Keuchel’s sinker.) Pirela rewarded his manager’s faith with a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth. He had previously been 0 for 5 with two strikeouts against Keuchel.

Braves set team mark

Adeiny Hechavarria’s home run in the eighth was the Braves’ 236th of the season, a team record.

Phillies pitchers have allowed 238 homers this season. That is a team record. The old one was 221.

Up next

Zach Eflin (8-12, 4.20) opposes right-hander Julio Teheran (10-9, 3.50) on Wednesday night.

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Hector Neris delivers the save for umpire Joe West, Mets' Rajai Davis

Hector Neris delivers the save for umpire Joe West, Mets' Rajai Davis

In a strangely fun moment (everyone’s OK), during the Phillies’ win over the Mets on Sunday night, home plate umpire Joe West lost his balance and fell over during a play at the plate with the Phils in the field.

Hector Neris had to come in to make the save. Please watch it for yourself.

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Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Hector Neris answers Dodgers' bombs with an F-bomb

Phillies closer Hector Neris has been beaten up badly by the Los Angeles Dodgers in his career.

Neris has allowed eight home runs to the Dodgers in his career in just 12 2/3 innings. Most of the home runs have been spectacular shots that have cost the Phillies games, including two of them this season.

Two years ago, Neris gave up three homers in the ninth inning as the Dodgers rallied for a surreal win in Dodger Stadium.

Neris gave up another home run to the Dodgers on Thursday, but he managed to survive it and nail down the save in the Phillies’ 7-6 win.

It was an emotional victory for the Phillies — Gabe Kapler said as much afterward — and Neris’ emotions definitely got the best of him.

As Justin Turner’s game-ending fly ball nestled into right-fielder Bryce Harper’s glove, Neris turned to the Dodgers’ dugout and shouted, “F--- you!”

The Dodgers did not like it. From the dugout, several players stared down Neris. He stared back. Dodgers catcher Russell Martin could be seen inviting Neris to rendezvous in the tunnel for further discussion.

That was the extent of the drama on the field, but Dodgers slugger Max Muncy managed to get in a pretty good verbal lick on Neris during postgame clubhouse interviews.

“He looked right into our dugout, screamed at us, and yelled, ‘F--- you!’ " Muncy told reporters. "He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was just excited. He wants to act that way, good for him.”

Neris downplayed the verbal confrontation.

“It was nothing,” he said. “It's the emotion of the series, you know? It's a great win for my team. I just let my emotions get out. I'll just try to be focused on the next series. That's the only thing I have to say about that.

“Just the emotions. Just the game. I'm so happy, I'm so excited for my team to win that game. That's a good team. My team needed that win.”

Neris has given up homers in four of his last five appearances. He blew a save when he gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers. (The Phils came back to win in the bottom of the ninth.) After the home run, Neris plunked David Freese and was ejected. Neris received a three-game suspension from MLB. He is appealing it.

The season series between the two teams is complete. The Dodgers took five of seven games from the Phillies and out-homered the Phils, 23-7.

That's a lot of bombs.

And one F-bomb.

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