ATLANTA (AP) — Austin Riley hit a pair of monstrous homers and pinch-hitter Travis d’Arnaud came through with a tiebreaking, two-run single in the eighth inning that carried the Atlanta Braves to an 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.
D’Arnaud, sent up for slumping Michael Harris II with the bases loaded, lined a one-out single to left field off Gregory Soto (1-4). Matt Olson added a sacrifice fly.
In the first meeting between the NL East rivals since the Phillies’ upset victory in the 2022 divisional round, both teams displayed plenty of power to open a four-game series.
Bryce Harper hit a mammoth homer for the Phillies, and Alec Bohm connected on a two-run shot. Marcell Ozuna went deep for the Braves, who became the first team in nearly four years to hit three homers off Aaron Nola.
There was no doubt about either of Riley’s long balls — both carried to nearly the same spot way up in the left-field seats. A two-run shot in the first measured 459 feet. A solo drive in the fifth went an estimated 458 feet for the fifth multi-homer game of his career.
Harper took one nearly as deep in the top of the fifth, launching a 445-footer off Dylan Dodd that sailed past the Chop House restaurant in right field. It was Harper’s 40th career homer against the Braves.
Harper went small ball to spark a rally that tied the game at 5 in the seventh. With two outs, he dropped a perfect bunt down the third-base line for a single, and wound up scoring on Kyle Schwarber’s double into the right-field corner off A.J. Minter.
Nick Castellanos also came home and was initially called safe on a close play at the plate. But a Braves challenge led to the call being overturned; the replay showed Castellanos’ lead foot on the slide missed the plate before he was tagged by Sean Murphy on the opposite knee.
Dodd, a rookie called up from Triple-A to make his fourth start of the season in Atlanta’s patched-up rotation, gave up four runs in five innings.
Nick Anderson (2-0) earned the win with a perfect eighth, and Raisel Iglesias picked up his fourth save in five chances.
Nola lasted six innings, giving up five earned runs to match his season high. It was the first time he’s given up three homers in a game since July 18, 2019, against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Big Boi threw out the ceremonial first pitch on a night when the Braves honored Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast.
Taking the mound wearing a vintage No. 44 Hank Aaron jersey, Big Boi bounced his toss to the plate, the ball skipping by the bat boy sent out to handle the catching duties.
The crowd of 43,216 — the third-largest turnout in Truist Park history — received Outkast bobbleheads. There was no sign of the other member of the group, André 3000; the pair hasn’t performed together since a 2014 reunion tour.
Phillies: LHP José Alvarado (elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen Wednesday, according to manager Rob Thomson, and is scheduled for another one Saturday in Atlanta. “If that goes well, he’ll probably throw some batting practice in New York,” Thomson said, referring to a series that begins next Tuesday against the Mets. ... C Rafael Marchan (fractured right wrist) could begin a rehab assignment Sunday, while 1B Darick Hall (right thumb surgery) is on course to start his rehab assignment early next week. Both players will start out at the Phillies’ camp in Clearwater, Florida.
Braves: RHP Michael Tonkin went on the 15-day injured list with a strained neck, clearing a spot on the roster for Dodd.
The Braves will start another rookie in the second game of the series. LHP Jared Shuster (1-2, 5.49 ERA) is set to face Phillies RHP Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.79).