Eickhoff struggles vs. Braves' lefty-heavy lineup

Eickhoff struggles vs. Braves' lefty-heavy lineup

ATLANTA -- Pitching against lefties has been a challenge for Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff, and it showed Wednesday night in the Phillies' 5-1 loss to the Braves.

Atlanta loaded its lineup with lefties, who went a collective 7-for-15 against Eickhoff, who lasted 4 1/3 innings.

"They've got a ton of left-handers in there, and they're all good hitters," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Eickhoff found himself pitching from the stretch after Nick Markakis lined a single to center on his first pitch of the game.

"First pitch of the game, try to go away, I got a little middle there, and I think that's kind of the storyline for the night," Eickhoff said after the game. "I executed a good pitch, but I think I followed up with a pitch that maybe caught too much of the plate. I wasn't continuously hitting those corners."

Eickhoff ended up throwing 27 pitches in the first inning, but he limited the damage to just one run in the frame. He continued to struggle with his command, though, and the Braves pounced on his mistakes.

Eickhoff yielded four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits with two strikeouts and a walk. Freddie Freeman chased him with a home run to right-center in the bottom of the fifth.

Freeman's solo home run

"I think it just boils down to the command of his fastball," Mackanin said. "His off stuff, he didn't have it either. He battled through his last outing, and he looked a little bit the same. He didn't look like he was in full control because he wasn't spotting his fastball, and that makes all the difference in the world. Too many good pitches to hit."

Aimee Sachs is a contributor to MLB.com based in Atlanta. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.