Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his 40th home run, and Freddie Freeman delivered a key two-run single that helped the visiting Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 on Thursday.
The Braves lowered their magic number to win the NL East to one game. They could clinch Friday with a win vs. San Francisco or a Washington Nationals loss at Miami.
Acuna hit a two-run shot in the third inning, and Freeman drove home a pair in the fifth with his first hit of the three-game series. The win broke a three-game losing streak for Atlanta (94-60) and extended its division lead to 9 1/2 games over Washington.
Philadelphia (78-73) finished 10-9 against the Braves this season.
Atlanta starter Mike Soroka (13-4) pitched five strong innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five, walking none. Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out two, to earn his 12th save.
Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola (12-6) pitched five-plus innings and allowed five runs on nine hits, two walks and struck out four. It was the sixth straight winless start for the right-hander.
With his two-run homer, Acuna became the third player in history to hit 40 homers at age 21 or younger, joining Hall of Famers Eddie Mathews (47 in 1953) and Mel Ott (42 in 1929).
The Phillies tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth inning. Acuna misplayed Scott Kingery’s fly ball into a triple, and Kingery scored when Adam Haseley doubled. Haseley scored on a grounder by Cesar Hernandez.
The Braves regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Joyce singled, Acuna walked and, after a grounder moved both runners up, Freeman chased both home with a single to right. Freeman moved into a tie for the league lead with 119 RBIs.
The Phillies made it 4-3 in the sixth against reliever Luke Jackson. Bryce Harper doubled, moved up on a grounder and scored when Jean Segura was able to beat out a grounder to second base. Segura suffered a leg injury on the play and had to leave the game.
The Braves got the run back when Austin Riley clubbed a long solo homer to lead off the sixth. It was his 18th homer and first since Aug. 2.
Kingery cut the lead to 5-4 with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning against Shane Greene. But the Phillies left runners on the corners to end the threat.
—Field Level Media