- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ATLANTA (AP) - With 12 hits and four walks, the Phillies had plenty of scoring chances against the Braves.

The Phillies wasted too many of those by stranding 10 baserunners.

Jerome Williams couldn’t survive a four-run fifth inning and last-place Philadelphia’s struggles continued when a ninth-inning rally fell short in a 7-5 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.

The Phillies have lost seven of nine.

Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard homered and Ben Revere had four hits, including a career-high three doubles.

Braves closer Jason Grilli allowed one run on one walk and two hits in the ninth. Darrin Ruf’s single drove in Revere, who led off with a single. Grilli struck out Odubel Herrera to clinch his ninth save.

“We had the tying run in striking distance, we just came up a little bit short,” Howard said.

Howard’s fifth homer came in the Phillies’ three-run sixth. It gave him 50 career homers against the Braves. Since the team moved to Atlanta in 1966, only Cincinnati’s Johnny Bench (52) has hit more homers against the Braves. Howard also had two homers against the Braves as the Phillies won two of three in Philadelphia late last month.

“It’s just kind of weathering the storm, if you will, and continuing to swing and trying to find some green out there,” said Howard, who is hitting only .220 after three hits.

Andrelton Simmons had three hits, including a homer and Freddie Freeman drove in three runs with three hits for the Braves.

The Braves won back-to-back games for the first time since their 5-0 start.

Simmons hit a first-inning homer off Williams (2-2). The Braves took the lead for good on Freeman’s run-scoring double in the fourth. Williams was lifted with one out in the fifth and allowed a season-high six runs on eight hits.

“The fifth inning just unraveled a little bit,” Williams said. “I was just not locating the ball down. I’ve just got to get back down in the zone.”

Mike Foltynewicz (2-0) allowed four runs in 5 1-3 innings.

The Braves led 2-1 before battering Williams in the fifth. Jace Peterson led off the inning with a liner up the middle. Williams had to fall to the mound to avoid being hit. It was the first of five hits in the inning, including a two-run double to right field by Freeman off reliever Jake Diekman.

“It hit my glove,” said Williams of Peterson’s drive. “It was probably three or four inches away from my face. But I’m supposed to catch that.”

Foltynewicz drove in a run with a fly ball and Nick Markakis had a run-scoring single.

Freeman also doubled in the fourth to drive in Simmons, who doubled as well.


Williams’ ERA rose to 5.18 in his shortest outing since lasting four innings at Cleveland on Aug. 1, 2014, with the Rangers. He fell to 0-2 in three career starts at Turner Field.


The Braves recalled right-hander Williams Perez from Triple-A Gwinnett before the game. Perez, a starter at Gwinnett, will pitch in middle relief and be available for a long outing, if needed. Right-hander Michael Kohn was optioned to Gwinnett.


Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was held out for the second straight day as he continues to take what manager Ryne Sandberg described as a mental rest. Utley is hitting .103. Sandberg said batting practice for Utley was optional during his break.


Phillies: After an off day on Thursday, the Phillies launch a 10-game homestand when they face Matt Harvey and the New York Mets on Friday night. Cole Hamels (1-3) will start for Philadelphia.

Braves: Atlanta opens a weekend series at Washington on Friday night when LHP Eric Stults (1-2) faces LHP Gio Gonzalez. Stults’ only win this season came at home against the Nationals on April 27.

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