(Photo credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
Zack Wheeler pitched six strong innings and the visiting Philadelphia Phillies matched their season high with five homers in a 7-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday in the opener of a three-game series.
Philadelphia (82-68) has won three of its last four games and leads idle Arizona by 3 1/2 games for the No. 1 National League wild-card spot. Atlanta (96-54) has lost four in a row.
Wheeler (12-6) allowed one run on three hits and two walks while striking out five. He recorded his 200th strikeout of the season, doing so for the second time of his career while becoming the franchise's 10th pitcher in the modern era with multiple seasons of 200-plus strikeouts.
In seven starts in Atlanta since joining the Phillies in 2020, Wheeler has a 2.14 ERA, 53 strikeouts and eight walks in 46 1/3 innings.
The only run Wheeler allowed came on a first-inning solo shot by Ozzie Albies, his 31st homer of the season. But Wheeler set down the next 10 batters he faced and did not allow another hit until the sixth inning. He struck out Marcell Ozuna with the bases loaded in the sixth to end Atlanta's biggest threat.
The Philadelphia home runs came from Johan Rojas, his second, Bryce Harper, his 18th, J.T. Realmuto, his 19th, Nick Castellanos, his 25th, and Kyle Schwarber, his 45th. It was the fourth time this season the Phillies have hit five home runs.
The Rojas homer was the second of his career, but first against a pitcher; his other home run came against a position player. Schwarber's homer was a moonshot that traveled 483 feet, the second-longest home run in Truist Park history.
Three of the home runs came against Atlanta starter Kyle Wright (0-3). Making his second start since returning from shoulder inflammation that caused him to miss 110 games, he pitched four innings and allowed four runs on five hits, with four walks and five strikeouts.
Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. returned to the lineup after missing two games with right calf tightness. Acuna was cleared on Monday morning and went 1-for-4 with a double.
--Field Level Media