Jeremy Hellickson pitched into the sixth inning and drove in the go-ahead run with a two-run double to help the Philadelphia Phillies beat the bumbling Atlanta Braves 9-5 on Saturday night.
Atlanta, the majors’ worst team, put on a clinic of bad baseball in the eighth while Philadelphia scored four runs without a hit.
Hunter Cervenka issued four walks, Ryan Weber hit a batter and two infielders committed an error to bring a chorus of boos from the fans.
Hellickson (8-7) allowed nine hits, three runs and one walk and struck out two in 5 2/3 innings. He improved to 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in his last seven starts despite getting chased when Anthony Recker’s RBI single cut the lead to 5-3.
Braves starter Julio Teheran blew a 2-1 lead in the fifth when Hellickson doubled over the bag at third.
Teheran (3-9) allowed five hits, three runs, one walk and struck out four in five innings. He left his last start, a no-decision at Colorado on July 22, with tightness in his right lat.
Philadelphia went up 5-2 in the sixth against Eric O’Flaherty on Freddy Galvis’ two-run single. Odubel Herrera missed a chance to add on when O’Flaherty struck him out with the bases loaded.
It’s been a recurring theme for the Phillies, who began the night with a .145 average with runners in scoring position and 72 stranded runners over their last eight games.
Atlanta’s bullpen had pitched 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, but that stretch ended with a thud. Cervenka was arguably worse than O’Flaherty, throwing just five of 21 pitches for strikes and walking in a run in one-third of an inning.
With Weber pitching, two runs scored on third baseman Adonis Garcia’s fielding error. Shortstop Erick Aybar then booted a grounder to load the bases before Weber hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch to make it 9-3.
The Braves took a 2-1 lead in the third on RBI singles by Nick Markakis and Adonis Garcia.
The Phillies made it 1-0 in the second. Ryan Howard doubled to begin the inning and lumbered home from second on Cameron Rupp’s RBI single.
Atlanta scored twice in the eighth.
The Braves swung a big trade to address their woeful offense – and add some spark heading into next season- by acquiring pricey slugger Matt Kemp and $10.5 million from San Diego for troubled outfielder Hector Olivera.
Atlanta had tried for several months to deal Olivera following his April 13 arrest on domestic violence charges. He is eligible to play again in the major leagues on Tuesday following his 82-game domestic violence suspension.
Despite arthritis in both hips, Kemp could boost the weakest offense in the major leagues. Atlanta ranks last in runs scored and homers.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (6-12) has a 3.83 ERA but leads the NL in losses. He is 2-1 with a 1.73 ERA in four career starts against Atlanta.
Braves: Interim manager Brian Snitker has yet to decide on a Sunday starter.