Trea Turner Leads Phillies Past Error-Prone Braves – NBC Sports Philadelphia

ATLANTA — Maybe Trea Turner should join the Home Run Derby, too.

The Phillies knew they needed others to step in when Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber joined JT Realmuto on the injured list last Friday. Turner has done nothing but rake since then.

He began the Phillies’ road trip this week at Wrigley Field with a pair of two-run homers to left-center field in a two-run win. He hit two more over the wall in left-center field at Truist Park on Friday night to lead the Phillies to an 8-6 victory over the rival Braves.

“When I play like that, I’m not necessarily trying to do that,” he said. “I think it’s more like I’m loading up well, I don’t feel like I’m cheating, I’m not jerking the ball, I’m just letting it happen. I just feel like my swing is in a much better place, my decision-making, my adjustments have been a lot better this year than they were last year and that’s more typical of my career, being able to make adjustments.”

Turner has been on fire in his last nine games with seven extra-base hits, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored. He has hit .343 since returning from the injured list.

“That’s who he is,” manager Rob Thomson said. “When he’s hot, he’s hotter than hell. He’s not the biggest guy on the planet and I don’t know how he’s hitting the ball yet. He’s got bat speed and he’s hitting things up and when he gets the ball in the air, it goes. It’s just unbelievable to me.

“The fact that he hasn’t been able to play for all that time, hasn’t been on rehab and hasn’t batted as much as he has since he’s been back is a testament to the athlete and the condition he’s in.”

It had all the makings of a potentially frustrating night and the start of a big run before Turner and the Phillies finally broke through against Max Fried in the fourth inning. They had stranded six baserunners in the first three with a botched safety squeeze by Johan Rojas and a bases-loaded groundout by Whit Merrifield.

They drove in their first run on a fielder’s choice that was beaten by Bryson Stott, and Turner followed with his first two-run homer. Cristian Pache led the way with his best at-bat in weeks, an eight-pitch single that moved Johan Rojas to third.

The bottom of the order looked like a clear weakness when the Phillies lost Harper and Schwarber to injuries two weeks after Realmuto underwent surgery on his right meniscus. On Friday night, for example, their 6-7-8-9 consisted of Merrifield, Rafael Marchan, Rojas and Pache.

Still, the win at Truist Park put the Phillies at 5-2 without their trio of big hitters. That was largely thanks to the pitching staff, Turner, Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm, who found out Friday he would be participating in the Home Run Derby in addition to starting the All-Star Game.

But Marchan and Garrett Stubbs also held their own at bat, Pache sparked the first rally on Friday and Rojas made a great defensive play to secure Wednesday’s win in Chicago before adding two hits with an RBI and a stolen base in Atlanta.

The Phillies are 58-30 on the season, with a massive 10-game lead over the Braves.

Aaron Nola kept Atlanta in check early. This was his 37th career start against the Braves, and he generated funky swings his first two times through the order against hitters who’ve seen him a million times, like Ozzie Albies, Marcell Ozuna, Adam Duvall and Orlando Arcia.

Nola (10-4, 3.48) couldn’t get a man on base until Albies singled with one out in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Riley, a .365 career hitter with five doubles and six home runs against him, followed by taking Nola deep to center to make it a one-run game.

Albies hit a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Braves closer, but Ozuna lined out for the tying run to end Nola’s night. The Braves committed three errors in the top of the seventh, and by the time the Phillies turned to Orion Kerkering, the first reliever out of the ‘pen, the lead had grown to five, a comfortable enough lead to withstand Ozuna’s three-run shot off Jose Alvarado an inning later.

Jeff Hoffman made the save, his eighth compared to Alvarado’s 13.

The Phils will look to seal a series win Saturday night when Ranger Suarez takes on rookie right-hander Spencer Schwellenbach. They’ve already accomplished a major weekend goal, knowing going into the series that anything short of a sweep would allow them to bounce back with at least an eight-game division lead.

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