Braves third baseman Chris Johnson throws to first during Wednesday’s game against the Phillies, who jumped on Braves starter Aaron Harang early and cruised to a 10-5 victory. (Reuters)
ATLANTA — The Philadelphia Phillies have their first series sweep in Atlanta since 2011 and maybe finally a little momentum.
Right fielder Marlon Byrd hit his 11th home run of the season to cap a three-hit game that included three RBIs and the Phillies defeated the Braves 10-5 on a hot and very humid Wednesday afternoon at Turner Field.
“To put runs up against a good pitching staff like the Braves is huge,” Byrd said. “We’ve been searching all season to finally put things together. Now we’ve got to keep it going. The next series is important, too. “
The Phillies (32-38) have a chance to win more than three games in a row for the first time since last June as they continue their road trip at St. Louis.
First baseman Ryan Howard, who had homered in the first two games of the series, joined Byrd and three other Phillies with three hits as Braves starter Aaron Harang was battered around.
The Phillies set a season high with 18 hits — one more than in their 14-10 victory at Texas in the season opener.
“We played some good baseball and it was our bats that really came alive,” manager Ryne Sandberg said.
The loss was the 14th in the past 22 games for the Braves, who have fallen out of first place in the National League East and are 36-35 going into a four-game series at Washington that opens today.
Philadelphia starter Roberto Hernandez (3-5) steadied after giving up four runs in the first inning and snapped a personal three-game losing streak. He allowed five runs while giving up eight hits and five walks over six innings, but stranded 10 runners.
“On a day like today, he did hang in there and give us some innings,” Sandberg said. “For him to get through the sixth was big.”
Braves catcher Evan Gattis hit the first of two homers surrendered by Hernandez and extended his hitting streak to 17 games - the longest current one in the majors.
Shortstop Cesar Hernandez, catcher Wil Nieves and left fielder Domonic Brown also had three hits for Philadelphia, while center fielder John Mayberry Jr. drove in three runs.
“It seemed like they were all over my breaking ball,” said Harang (5-6).
It took more than an hour to play the first two innings as Harang and Hernandez combined to give up 11 runs thanks to 13 hits and five walks.
After the Phillies scored two runs — one courtesy of a bases-loaded walk by Harang — in the top of the first, the Braves scored four times in the bottom of the inning off Hernandez.
Harang, though, gave the lead right back, as the Phillies scored five runs on six consecutive hits after two outs in the second inning. Three of the hits were doubles.
The Braves’ four runs in the first inning off Hernandez had also come with two outs. Gattis had the big hit, crushed a 1-0 slider with a runner on.
Harang walked in his second run of the game in the fourth and, after left fielder Ryan Doumit homered for the Braves in the bottom of the inning, the Phillies scored one final run off Harang in the fifth on Howard’s third hit.
Eight of the runs off the veteran right-hander were earned and he allowed 13 hits over five innings. In addition to walking in two runs, Harang threw two wild pitches.
Byrd’s homer came against reliever David Hale leading off the eighth inning.
The only bad news for the Phillies was that Nieves had to leave the game after a double in the ninth inning with a strained right calf. “He was in pain,” Sandberg said.