PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A pair of victories made a long day for the Braves pretty enjoyable.
Ryan Doumit homered and Tommy La Stella had two doubles and drove in two runs to lead the Atlanta Braves to a doubleheader sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies with a 5-1 victory in the nightcap Saturday.
La Stella hit a three-run triple in Atlanta’s 10-3 win in the opener.
Chris Johnson had three hits with an RBI and Justin Upton had two hits and drove in a run for the Braves, who have won five of six. Atlanta finished with 13 hits in the nightcap and had a combined 15 runs and 20 hits on the day.
“It’s a long day, definitely a long day and it’s not something you look forward to, playing two in one day,” Johnson said. “But to come out with two wins, you can’t complain at all.”
Cameron Rupp had two hits with a double for the slumping Phillies, who have lost seven of nine. Philadelphia totaled four runs in the two games and now have scored three runs or less 41 times, dropping to 7-34 in those contests. The Phillies also fell to 18-26 at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, where they entered Saturday batting .229 as a team.
“We had tough going on the offensive side and couldn’t get anything going,” Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. “It’s disappointing. We came in with some momentum, but the last three games it was lack of offense and not many good plays on defense. We have to do things differently, we have to score more runs and put the pitching and defense together.”
Atlanta right-hander David Hale (3-2) made his first start since being moved to the bullpen on April 30 and allowed one run on four hits with three strikeouts and a walk in five innings. Anthony Varvaro, Jordan Walden and Gus Schlosser combined to pitch four scoreless innings of relief. The four pitchers limited Philadelphia to six hits.
“David Hale gave us everything he had,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “He gave us what we wanted and gave us an opportunity.”
The Phillies called up Sean O’Sullivan (0-1) from Triple-A Lehigh Valley for a spot start and the right-hander lasted 5 2-3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. O’Sullivan, who has had stints with the Angels, Royals and Padres, made his 38th big league career start.
“I would’ve liked to have gone deeper in the game, but I thought I came right after them,” O’Sullivan said. “I tried to eat as many innings as I could.”
Upton’s RBI single in the first staked Atlanta to a 1-0 lead. The Phillies tied it in the third on Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice fly before the Braves used a three-run sixth to take the lead for good.
O’Sullivan retired the first two batters before three straight singles, the last, a run-scoring base hit to right field by Johnson, ended his night. Left-hander Mario Hollands relieved O’Sullivan and surrendered a two-run double to La Stella that gave the Braves a three-run lead.
The Phillies got a chance in the sixth when a leadoff single by Marlon Byrd and an error by second baseman La Stella on Ryan Howard’s grounder put runners on first and second with no outs against Varvaro. However, unlike in the opener when two straight Howard errors in the fourth inning led to a pair of pivotal, game-tying runs, Philadelphia couldn’t take advantage of Atlanta’s miscue. John Mayberry Jr. popped out and Cody Asche and Cesar Hernandez flew out to left.
In the opener, Ervin Santana (6-5) snapped a four-game winless streak, allowing two runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk in 6 2-3 innings. Santana had lost his last three starts with a 5.89 ERA in those outings. But he was strong after the first two innings, retiring nine straight during one stretch and surrendering just three hits after the second inning.
“It was a great effort,” Gonzalez said. “We were looking for that kind of outing to be able to save the bullpen.”
Said Santana, “In the first inning, a couple pitches were up. After that, I just made a good adjustment and kept the ball down for the most part.”
Howard made two costly errors in the fourth inning, resulting in two unearned runs that allowed the Braves to tie the game at 2. Freddie Freeman’s hard-hit grounder went through Howard’s legs and the error put runners on second and third.
“It was a possible double-play ball and we would’ve been out of the inning,” Sandberg said. “It changed the whole game.”
The next batter, Upton, hit a medium grounder to first but reached safely when Howard bobbled and then lost control of the ball.
Andrelton Simmons scored on that error and Freeman, who went to third on the play, then scored on Jason Heyward’s groundout to first. Fans gave a sarcastic cheer when Howard made the putout.
“You make an error and give teams extra opportunities, and sometimes they’ll make you pay for it,” Gonzalez said. “We only got two runs out of those errors, but it got us back in the game. You have to take advantage of those. If you give opportunities to good baseball teams, they’re going to get you.”
Atlanta then went ahead in the sixth on Upton’s two-run double off the wall in left.
Roberto Hernandez (3-7) didn’t allow a hit through 3 1-3 innings and ended up giving up just three hits in seven innings with two strikeouts and three walks. Two of the four runs he allowed were unearned.
NOTES: Evan Gattis was out of the lineup for both games on Saturday. The Braves’ catcher left due to back spasms after striking out swing in the first inning of Friday’s game. Christian Bethancourt was called up from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game. Bethancourt, who arrived at the ballpark an hour and 15 minutes before the game, hit an infield single in the sixth for his first major-league hit. To make room for Bethancourt, the Braves sent right-hander Juan Jaime to Triple-A. … Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason, in town for the NHL draft at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday and Saturday, was in attendance for the opener on Saturday. … The teams will conclude their four-game series at 1:35 Sunday afternoon with Atlanta RHP Aaron Harang (6-6, 3.78) facing Philadelphia RHP David Buchanan (4-3, 4.79).
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