Harang extends mastery of Braves in Phils' win

Harang extends mastery of Braves in Phils' win

ATLANTA -- Aaron Harang extended his mastery of the Braves and benefited from the three first-inning runs the Phillies tallied against Alex Wood during Monday night's 5-2 win at Turner Field.

Harang, who rejuvenated his career with Atlanta last year, limited his former club to one run over six innings. The 36-year-old right-hander had completed 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against the Braves until Andrelton Simmons tripled and scored on Freddie Freeman's single in the sixth inning.

"He said he was a little bit pumped up," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said of Harang. "He was a little excited."

After surrendering four hits during his 27-pitch first inning, Wood kept the Phillies scoreless over the remainder of his 4 1/3-inning stint. But the young southpaw labored throughout this 90-pitch effort and was lifted after surrendering consecutive one-out singles in the fifth inning.

"It's tough to have that happen in the first inning," Wood said. "It takes a lot out of guys right out of the gate. It's hard to give up three in the first and expect guys to come back and score enough runs for us to win the ballgame."

Say what? Phillies start fast: Before Monday's outburst, the Phillies had scored just five runs in the first inning the entire season, tying the Brewers for the fewest in baseball. The Phillies did most of their damage with two outs, including hits from Darin Ruf, Jeff Francoeur and Carlos Ruiz and a Cesar Hernandez walk. More >

Ruiz's two-run single

What has happened to Wood? Though he has allowed more than three runs just once this season, Wood has not been sharp in any of his six starts. The Phillies recorded hits with six of the 10 fastballs they put in play against the 24-year-old southpaw, who has surrendered hits to 15 of the 45 batters he's faced over his past two outings. More >

Frenchy feels right at home: Francoeur entered the night hitless in his previous 19 at-bats, but he got going against his former team.The suburban Atlanta native, who played for the Braves from 2005-09, went 4-for-5, drove in two runs and raised his batting average from .169 to .214. This was his first four-hit game since May 20, 2012. More >

Francoeur's big night

Harang's revenge: As Harang has allowed just one run through the first 14 innings he has completed against Atlanta this year, he has given the Braves reason to second-guess their decision to not aggressively attempt to re-sign him this past winter. The Braves were hesitant to make a two-year offer to the rejuvenated veteran, who ended up signing a one-year, $5 million deal with Philadelphia. More >

"That was game-saving for me. You never know if that snowballs into something big. He gets to the right spot, most often, if not all the time. It was a great catch. Huge." -- Sandberg, on center fielder Odubel Herrera's catch at the wall in the sixth inning. Atlanta had a runner on first with two outs when Jonny Gomes almost hit it out.

Herrera's leaping catch

"When you're down 3-0 right away, not putting anything on [Wood], but it's tough with a younger-ish team. It was just one of those innings where we fell behind and with the way Harang has been throwing, he's been tough." -- Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski

This was Francoeur's fourth career four-hit game at Turner Field and first since he helped Mike Hampton and the Braves beat the Giants on Aug. 16, 2008.

Francoeur on win

Phillies: Chad Billingsley is excited to pitch in his first big league game in more than two years. Billingsley has had a difficult road back following a pair of right elbow surgeries that have limited him to just 12 innings since 2012. But Billingsley has been healthy since he joined the Phillies on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. The next step is seeing how he handles big league hitters again.

Braves: Billingsley will oppose Shelby Miller when Atlanta and Philadelphia resume their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. ET at Turner Field on Tuesday. Miller has posted a 2.12 ERA over his past 12 starts. He limited the Phillies to two runs over six innings on April 25 at Citizens Bank Park.

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Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com. Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone. Follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.