After a rain delay of about an hour and 50 minutes, the expectations for John Lannan, coming off a recent string of underwhelming performances, probably weren't very high. He still probably fell short of them in an injury-shortened start Wednesday night as the Phillies fell behind Atlanta early en-route to a 6-3 loss.
Lannan (3-6) was limitted to just 1 1/3 innings against the Braves as he left with an undisclosed injury in the second after allowing two runs on three walks and four hits. Jason Heyward led off the game with a solo homer, his 12th, to left center. The second Atlanta run scored when, with men on second and third, Chris Johnson hit a sac-fly to left, scoring Justin Upton from third.
Zach Miner, entering in relief of Lannan with the bases loaded, allowed a sac-fly to Freddie Freeman and plunked Evan Gattis to load the bases again before allowing a two-run single to recent-Phillie-nemesis Johnson. The RBI hit put Atlanta up 5-0 after just two innings of play.
Opposing starter Brandon Beachy, making just his fourth start of the season following Tommy John surgery last season, was a lot sharper than his Phillies counterpart, limiting the damage to six hits (no walks) in his six innings.
The Phillies mustered two infield singles against Beachy in the first, though one was on a play that, had Andrelton Simmons been playing shortstop tonight (he sat in favor of Paul Janish), would have been an out. Beachy escaped the inning with a fly-out from Darin Ruf for the third out.
Beachy retired the Phillies in order in the second, and allowed just one baserunner in Jimmy Rollins on an error by Heyward before ending the third scoreless.
In the fourth, Simmons came into the game as Janish moved over to second to replace starter Tyler Pastornicky. Pastornicky was knocked over in a collision with Heyward in the outfield, and left the game with what was described as a knee injury. That inning, Domonic Brown was stranded at third after a leadoff double.In the bottom half, Justin Upton singled to left off Miner before being stranded at second.
Both teams went down in order in the fifth. In the top of the sixth, Michael Young led off the inning with a single. After Chase Utley flew out for the first out, Brown deposited a pitch from Beach into the right field seats to cut the Braves' lead to 5-2, but couldnt capitalize on the monentum, so the 'rally' ended at two runs.
The Braves scored again in the seventh when Janish hit a sac-fly to center to score Simmons, who led off the inning with a double against Raul Valdes, making the score 6-2. Both teams sat down in order in the eighth.
The ninth was where things got interesting, sort of. Atlanta reliever David Carpenter began the ninth by allowing a solo home run to Ruf, his seventh of the season. He followed that up with a walk to Cody Asche, and manager Fredi Gonzalez, who had closer Craig Kimbrel warming up, had by that point seen enough. Kimbrel came in and retired the remaining Phillies without much trouble as the Braves took the deciding game in the series.
Lannan has had control problems lately, and the rain definitely didn't help, as he was clearly off from the moment he took the mound, throwing a ton of pitches in the first inning. Phillies media personel commenting on the game mentioned that this may be the last we have seen of Lannon as a Phillie, considering his contract status, poor performance, and now his latest injury.
The Phillies get a day off Thursday before hosting the LA Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park Friday in the first of a three-game series. Cliff Lee takes on Zack Greinke, who has won seven of his last 10 starts. If anything, at least it should be a good pitching matchup.