Braves light up Phillies early with big innings

Braves light up Phillies early with big innings

ATLANTA -- Cameron Maybin finished a triple shy of the cycle and the Braves provided Alex Wood more than enough support with two four-run innings against Kevin Correia during Saturday night's 9-5 win over the Phillies at Turner Field.

Kelly Johnson produced a two-run single in the four-run first and chased Correia with an RBI single in the four-run fourth inning that also included a Nick Markakis two-run double. The early offensive support was welcomed by Wood, who was fortunate to allow just four runs while surrendering 10 hits over six innings.

"He had a lot of baserunners, but he battled," said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. "He bent a little bit, but he didn't give in and he kept us right there, and we were able to give him a little cushion and we end up winning the game."

In the process of winning four straight games, the Braves have produced three four-run innings. They entered Saturday having scored at least four runs in just three of the previous 14 games since Freddie Freeman was sidelined by a right wrist injury.

"Early on we had some really good at-bats against Correia," Gonzalez said. "And that was good to give [Wood] the lead. And we converted it."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Maybin's key contributions: Maybin fueled the first-inning eruption with a double and collected his seventh home run of the season in the second inning. After moving a triple away from the cycle with his RBI single in the fourth, he grounded out to the pitcher and reached on an error in his final two plate appearances. More >

Maybin's solo homer

Correia crushed: Correia got hit hard early and often in 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed 10 hits and tied a career high with nine runs allowed. It was a bad night, but it continues a troubling trend for the Phillies' rotation. Its starters have pitched fewer than six innings in 14 of the previous 18 games, which is putting a tremendous strain on the bullpen.

MacKanin on Correia, Hernandez

"It's like Groundhog Day for us," Phillies interim manager Pete Mackanin said about the rotation's struggles. More >

Ruf delivers: Playing time has been scarce for Darin Ruf. He made just his second start since being recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on June 24. He hit a three-run home run to left field in the fifth inning. It was his fourth homer of the season.

Ruf's three-run shot to left

"The home run by Ruf, the three-run johnson, and he almost hit another one," Mackanin said about Ruf's flyout to center field in the third. "He swung the bat pretty well."

Minimizing damage: Though Wood was damaged by Ruf's home run, he spent most of the evening escaping disaster. He managed to total just 17 pitches and allow one run despite allowing three singles and issuing a walk in the third inning. Jeff Francoeur and Ruf both flied out with the bases loaded to end the threat in the third.

"Probably one of the worst [starts] I've had in terms of command of all of my pitches," Wood said. "From start to finish it just wasn't very pretty, but we won; that's all I care about."

QUOTABLE
"We believe we're still in it. We have two or three months left and we don't believe we have played our best baseball. If we continue to take care of games within our division, we like our chances. It's a long season. Teams can hit hot streaks and cold streaks. Hopefully, we can hit one of those hot streaks and keep things going." -- Maybin, on the Braves' chances in the National League East halfway through the season.

"In my position, I'm not even going there. I'm not going to ask them. That's up to the front office. They see the same thing we're seeing. I'm sure they're not real crazy about it either." -- Mackanin, on if he follows the progress of or asks about Triple-A right-hander Aaron Nola, who seems to be getting closer to a promotion.

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Maybin has hit seven home runs through his first 251 at-bats. He totaled a career-high nine home runs in 516 at-bats with the 2011 Padres.

Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He is hitting .447 (17-for-38) during the streak.

WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Left-hander Cole Hamels faces the Braves in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Turner Field. He pitched well last week against Milwaukee, allowing five hits, two runs and one walk and striking out seven in seven innings, but he got little run support in a 4-3 loss. As has been the case this season, every start Hamels makes before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline could be his last with the Phillies, with the organization looking to trade him to boost its rebuilding efforts.

Braves: Atlanta will counter with Shelby Miller, who stands as one of the candidates to serve as the National League's starter in this year's All-Star Game. Miller tossed a three-hit shutout against the Phillies on May 5.

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