Freeman backs Perez's gem to top Phils

Freeman backs Perez's gem to top Phils

ATLANTA -- Although he might not have ended what was an odd and hectic day in perfect fashion, Williams Perez took full advantage of a surprise start and benefited from Freddie Freeman's three-hit game as the Braves snapped an 11-game home losing streak with Wednesday night's 5-1 win over the Phillies.

Perez, who was perfect until Ryan Howard began the fifth inning with a home run, ended up limiting the Phillies to two hits over eight innings. Not bad, considering he began the day in Rochester, N.Y., and traveled to Atlanta once he learned he'd been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make this start in place of Jhoulys Chacin, who was traded to the Angels on Wednesday afternoon.

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"He pitched a hell of a game," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Perez. "He made a mistake to Howard, but he didn't give us a lot to hit."

Freeman began his three-hit game by notching one of the three first-inning singles surrendered by Jerad Eickhoff. The red-hot first baseman chased Eickhoff with a one-out homer in the fifth inning. His contributions enabled the Braves to win for just the second time in 18 tries at Turner Field this year.

Eickhoff gets Aybar to end 1st

"I think we finally played a solid game in all three facets," Freeman said. "I think it's probably the first time we've played good defense and pitched well. It's definitely a nice thing tonight to score a run in [each of the first three innings] to give some cushion to Williams, and he definitely took off with that."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Effecient gem: Perez encountered just one three-ball count and needed three or fewer pitches to retire 12 of the 25 batters that he faced. After surrendering Howard's opposite-field homer on the fifth inning's first pitch, he retired 10 consecutive batters before Freddy Galvis singled with one out in the eighth. The Braves right-hander ended his 85-pitch outing by getting Darin Ruf to ground into a double play.

Perez's eight brilliant innings

"You couldn't ask for anything more," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "It's nice to get a pitching performance like this and get a [win], instead of the last couple nights where you had [Mike Foltynewicz and Matt Wisler] providing an almost equal pitching performance and they got losses." More >

Eickhoff labors through first: Nick Markakis made Eickhoff pitch from the stretch after throwing just one pitch by hitting a single. The Braves made contact early and often as Eickhoff threw 27 pitches in the first. Overall, Braves lefties were 7-for-15 against the righty. More >

Johnson's RBI single

Freeman stays hot: Freeman's fifth-inning homer was his fifth in the past 12 games. The former All-Star first baseman also singled before scoring on A.J. Pierzynski's third-inning sacrifice fly. Freeman has batted .422 (19-for-45) dating back to April 27.

"It's nice to finally get some hits and come out on the winning side of things," Freeman said. "It's a good feeling. So hopefully I can continue to keep hitting, and hopefully we can continue to keep winning, too."

Howard's homer spoils perfection: Howard's fifth-inning homer ended Perez's perfect-game bid and increased his lead for the most homers hit by an opponent at Turner Field. He's hit 22, and David Wright ranks second with 19.

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Perez became just the third Braves pitcher since 2000 to throw 85 or fewer pitches over eight innings. Greg Maddux did it twice (71 pitches on June 4, 2003, and 82 on Oct. 2, 2001). Tom Glavine did it on May 1, 2002, with 82 pitches.

WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Vince Velasquez will look to earn his fifth win when he gets the ball for the Phillies during Thursday's series finale, which will begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Braves: Aaron Blair will make his fourth career start when this three-game series concludes on Thursday night. Blair ranks as baseball's 52nd-best prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com.

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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Phillies on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.