Braves fall after Venters' ill-timed wild pitch

Braves fall after Venters' ill-timed wild pitch

Braves fall after Venters' ill-timed wild pitch
ATLANTA -- Brandon Beachy put himself in position to finally beat the Phillies, and Cole Hamels was forced to exit after six innings. Everything seemed to be going in the right direction for the Braves until one of Jonny Venters' nasty pitches slipped past Brian McCann in the eighth inning.

A night filled with great pitching was decided by a wild pitch that resulted in a strikeout and, more importantly, allowed John Mayberry Jr. to score the go-ahead run that led the Phillies to a 4-2 win over the Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday night.

"I didn't make pitches with guys on, and they made me pay for it," Venters said. "There is no excuses. Brandon pitched his butt off today, and we were in the game in the eighth. For me to let it get away like that, it's unacceptable."

Venters was far too hard on himself after being victimized by misfortune during a wacky inning. Mayberry got things started with a bloop double that landed along the right-field line, and Jimmy Rollins followed with a single that put runners at the corners with one out.

This set the stage for Placido Polanco, who swung through the fifth slider he saw during a five-pitch at-bat. Unfortunately for the Braves, the strikeout pitch hit in front of McCann's left foot and bounced to the backstop, allowing Mayberry to score uncontested.

"We were all set up to win that ballgame and it kind of hurts," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "But it just wasn't Jonny's day."

Hunter Pence's RBI single through the vacated right side of the infield capped the two-run eighth against Venters, who had not allowed a run in his previous nine appearances.

"Some things definitely didn't go our way," Venters said. "But at the same time, I've got to make better pitches in those situations. I left some sinkers up in the zone, and they don't miss those pitches."

The Braves have now lost eight straight games against the Phillies. This marked the first time the two teams played since Atlanta lost its must-win 2011 regular-season finale in 13 innings.

"I don't want to talk about it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "No sense in talking about it."

Unfortunately for Beachy, he was not able to enjoy talking about the strong seven-inning effort he made against a Phillies team that has frustrated him numerous times in his young career. The 24-year-old hurler retired the first 10 batters he faced.

But the fact that Beachy remains winless through seven career starts against the Phillies can be blamed on what transpired during a two-run fourth inning.

Beachy was cruising until Polanco recorded his team's first hit with a one-out single to right field. Two batters later, Pence managed to produce a soft double that rolled through the right side of the infield and came to rest in shallow right field.

"He just squirted one through," Braves outfielder Matt Diaz said. "Our second baseman is playing up the middle because he hits the ball up the middle a lot, and our first baseman is guarding the line because he hits the ball down the line a lot. I'm taking away the right-center-field gap. It just left a ginormous hole, and he pushed one through."

Ty Wigginton capped the frame with a two-run single that went under Martin Prado's glove in left field, preventing the Braves outfielder from even attempting a throw as Pence scored from second.

Beachy now has four consecutive no-decisions against the Phillies, whom he has opposed in seven of his 33 career starts.

"It's a tough game," Beachy said. "It was a well-played game. Hamels threw the ball really well. You've got to put up zeroes to beat this team."

After Hamels allowed just two singles through the first three innings, McCann put the Braves on the board with a solo home run that sailed over the right-field wall with one out in the fourth inning.

Hamels threw 90 pitches through the first five innings, then battled his way through a rough sixth inning. Freddie Freeman singled and McCann followed with a five-pitch walk. After Diaz's one-out pop fly fell in no-man's land along the right-field line, Juan Francisco hit a changeup to left-center field for a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Hamels also received a no-decision after allowing two runs and six hits in six innings. The Phillies have won 14 of the 24 games he has started against the Braves.

"He's fun to play against because it's always going to be a battle," Diaz said. "But it's frustrating as heck because he wins a lot of those battles."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.