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Braves' hitting struggles continue in 4-0 loss to Phillies

Atlanta held to three hits one day after falling victim to no-hitter

POSTED: September 2, 2014 10:07 p.m.
John Bazemore | Associated Press/

Atlanta Braves' Andrelton Simmons (19) is out at second attempting to steal as Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins applies the tag in the third inning of a baseball game on Tuesday in Atlanta.

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ATLANTA — Another shutout loss again left Atlanta's hitters feeling like they let their pitchers down.

The Braves' offensive funk continued as Kyle Kendrick allowed only three hits in seven scoreless innings, Carlos Ruiz homered and drove in two runs, and Philadelphia shut out Atlanta 4-0 on Tuesday night.

One day after Cole Hamels and three relievers threw the first combined no-hitter in Phillies history, Kendrick (8-11) and relievers Ken Giles and Antonio Bastardo were dominant in the three-hit shutout.

"It stinks right now," said Braves third baseman Chris Johnson, who was 0-for-3 and struck out with the bases loaded to end the first.

Mike Minor (6-9) gave up three runs in 7 1-3 innings.

Johnson said Minor, like other Braves pitchers this year, deserved better support.

"It's hard to look those guys in the face," Johnson said. "What do you say? Sorry?"

The Braves, who began the night 1 1/2 games behind the NL wild-card leaders, have lost three of four. Each of the three losses was a shutout.

"We're a talented club offensively," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "A very talented club. We can put up numbers offensively. And to get shut out back-to-back days and three out of four days and only score one run ... it's mind-boggling."

The Braves haven't scored in 24 consecutive innings. Their only run in their last 36 innings was a homer by Evan Gattis in a 1-0 win over the Marlins on Sunday.

"It's not real pretty to watch right now," Gonzalez said.

Jason Heyward had two doubles. Atlanta's only other hit was a third-inning single by Andrelton Simmons.

The Braves, determined to bounce back from the no-hitter, began taking batting practice before the game with rain still coming down on Turner Field. Kendrick said that was a sure sign Atlanta's hitters would have aggressive at-bats.

Kendrick's strategy was to get ahead in counts, including in a key strikeout of Gattis with the bases loaded in the first inning.

"He's pretty aggressive," Kendrick said. "I was trying not to miss over the plate."

Gattis struck out while chasing a pitch in the dirt. Kendrick then struck out Johnson to end the inning.
Bastardo struck out the side in the ninth.

Ruiz led off the fifth with line-drive homer into the left-field seats off Minor. Darrin Ruf's run-scoring single in the sixth drove in Ben Revere for a 2-0 lead. Ruiz doubled in a run in the eighth.

Minor allowed three runs on seven hits in 7 1-3 innings.

Justin Upton left the game in the sixth inning with bruised left triceps. Upton, who leads the team with 26 homers and 91 RBIs, was hit by a pitch from Kendrick on the left arm in the first inning.

The Braves said Upton's status is day to day.

The Phillies are only 7-8 against the Braves, but they are 6-2 in Atlanta and on Wednesday will try to complete their second three-game sweep of the season at Turner Field. The Phillies won three straight in Atlanta June 16-18.

Philadelphia: RHP Mike Adams was activated off the 60-day disabled list. He had been out since June 8 with right rotator cuff inflammation.

Atlanta: RHP Kris Medlen threw for the first time since having right elbow ligament-replacement surgery in spring training.

Philadelphia: RHP David Buchanan (6-7), who is 0-2 in his last four starts, will look for his first win against the Braves.

Atlanta: Ervin Santana (13-7) is 0-1 in his last two starts despite allowing only a combined nine hits and two runs over 13 innings.


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