- Associated Press - Monday, July 4, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The best part of Joel De La Cruz’s start was he lasted six innings.

De La Cruz allowed eight extra-base hits before even giving up one single, Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco hit two-run homers and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Monday.

Making his second career start, De La Cruz got roughed up in the second inning. The Phillies got six extra-base hits and seven runs in that frame.

“We had a tough inning. He had a tough inning,” Braves interim manager Brian Snitker said. “He got the ball up a lot. Some balls got hit hard. But to his credit, he got us through six innings.”

Cameron Rupp and Tommy Joseph hit doubles. Cesar Hernandez ripped an RBI triple. Herrera hit one out to deep right-center for his 10th homer. After Peter Bourjos hit a double, Franco hit his 15th homer to left-center to make it 7-1.

“Keep the ball down in the strike zone is what I took away from it,” De La Cruz said through an interpreter. “I was missing pitches. If you make mistakes, you pay for it.”

Jerad Eickhoff (6-9) gave up two runs and five hits, striking out eight in 7 2/3 innings to win for the fourth time in five decisions.

“He mixed his pitches well and kept us off-balance,” Snitker said. “He’s really good.”

After sweeping three games in Arizona and taking two of three from the defending World Series champion Royals, the Phillies didn’t let up against the worst team in the NL.

Atlanta’s Erick Aybar lined a solo shot out to right for a 1-0 lead in the first. Aybar snapped a streak of 217 at-bats without a homer. He hadn’t gone deep since Oct. 3, 2015 for the Angels against the Rangers.

De La Cruz allowed seven runs - four earned - and nine hits in his second career start.

“They’re aggressive,” Snitker said. “They don’t miss that fastball. You better keep the ball down and hit your spots or they’ll hurt you.”

Eickhoff, who had the longest outing of his career, hasn’t given up more than three runs in seven straight starts. He’s lowered his ERA from 4.07 to 3.30 in that span.

STANDINGS

The Phillies (38-46) have won six of seven. The Braves (28-55) have lost six of eight.

STREAKING

Bourjos extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. … Rupp has a 10-game hitting streak. … Joseph snapped an 0-for-18 slump with his double. … Hernandez is 20 for 40 since June 23, raising his average from .248 to .286.

WE WANT A HIT

A Phillies fan seated in the second deck behind home plate chanted “We want a hit” incessantly during the second inning. The offense responded with three doubles, a triple and two homers.

HITTIN’ SEASON

The Phillies have double-digit hits in 10 of the last 13 games and lead the majors in batting average during that stretch.

UP NEXT

RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-2, 3.72) starts for the Braves while RHP Zach Elfin (0-2, 5.75) goes for the Phillies.

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