ATLANTA (AP) - The Philadelphia Phillies’ free fall continued behind another short outing from their starting pitcher.
Kevin Correia was knocked out of the game in the fourth inning as Philadelphia fell to the Atlanta Braves 9-5 on Saturday night for its sixth straight loss.
Correia (0-3) allowed nine runs, matching his career high, and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.
“I think my stuff was just a little off,” Correia said. “I was a little up on a couple pitches and when I did hit my spots, they still hit it hard. For whatever reason I just didn’t have that little extra I needed.”
It was the 14th time in the last 18 games Philadelphia’s starting pitcher failed to last six innings.
Interim manager Pete Mackanin said the team can’t afford such early exits from the starters.
“We’ve got to get length out of our starters, at least two or three of them,” Mackanin said.
Correia gave up nine earned runs for the San Diego Padres in an 11-5 loss to Arizona on Aug. 26, 2010.
Though the first-pitch temperature of 84 degrees was mild by Atlanta standards, Correia said heat was a factor in his ugly outing.
“It’s tough getting a start like that when it’s hot,” he said. “You’re battling the heat. I kind of rebounded and then it kind of got me there at the end.”
The Phillies, who have the majors’ worst record (27-56), have lost nine of 10.
Darin Ruf hit a three-run homer for Philadelphia in the fifth. Odubel Herrera added an eighth-inning homer off David Aardsma.
Cameron Maybin had three hits, including a home run, and Kelly Johnson drove in three runs with two hits as the Braves scored their most runs since a 10-1 win over Milwaukee on May 21.
The Braves led 9-1 after four innings but the Phillies tried to rally against Alex Wood (6-5), who allowed four runs, 10 hits and two walks in six innings.
“Pretty ugly,” Wood said following his first home win this season in six starts. “Probably the worst I’ve had in terms of command of all my pitches.”
The Braves scored four first-inning runs on five hits, including a double by Maybin and a two-run single by Johnson. Maybin hit his seventh homer in the second and added a run-scoring single in Atlanta’s four-run fourth. Nick Markakis had a two-run double and Johnson knocked Correia out of the game by driving in Markakis with a single.
Cesar Hernandez had a run-scoring single off Wood in the third.
By losing the first two games of the weekend series against the Braves, the Phillies have lost 14 of their last 16 road series.
Andres Blanco (5-foot-10, 196 pounds), had two hits in his first start at first base as Ryan Howard was given the day off. Blanco is much smaller than Howard (6-4, 250), but Mackanin said adjustments were made.
“He’s wearing the longer mitt and some risers in his shoes to make him look taller,” Mackanin joked before the game. “He won’t be running as well as he normally does but he’s a little taller.”
Howard popped out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
Braves: LHP Andrew McKirahan is starting a rehab assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett while completing his 80-game suspension following a positive test for the banned substance Ipamorelin, which releases growth hormone. He can be recalled on July 20. His positive PED test came with the Marlins in March. He was suspended after he appeared in three games with Atlanta in April.
Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels will try to even his record in the final game of the series on Sunday. Hamels, 5-6 this season, is 16-9 in his career against Atlanta.
Braves: RHP Shelby Miller will look for his third win over the Phillies this season. Miller is 3-1 against Philadelphia in his career, including 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA this season.
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