MLB wrap: Phillies fall 4 games behind Braves in NL East race; will look to gain ground this week

Aaron Nola (Getty Images)

The Braves extended their lead in the National League East on Sunday.

Atlanta (76-60) was tied with the Pirates through eight innings in the rubber match of their three-game series. But, the Braves scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a lead and reliever Brad Brach threw a scoreless ninth to secure a 5-1 win at SunTrust Park.

Meanwhile, the Cubs scored four runs in 5 2/3 innings off Phillies ace Aaron Nola and added four more off reliever Luis Garcia in the eighth to cruise to an 8-1 win at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia (72-64) has now dropped four of its last six games.

With the loss, Philadelphia fell four games behind the Braves in the division race.

The Phillies, however, will have a chance to gain ground this week as they begin a three-game series with the lowly Marlins (54-83) on Monday.  They’ll then play the fourth-place Mets (61-75) in a weekend series at Citi Field.

The Braves, on the other hand, will open the week with three games against the Red Sox (94-44), MLB’s best team, before opening a long road trip with a four-game series against the Diamondbacks (74-63).

Studs of the night

Noah Syndergaard threw a complete game two-hitter in the Mets’ 4-1 win over the Giants.

Christian Yelich lifted the Brewers to a 9-4 win over the Nationals with his first career grand slam in the fifth inning.

Duds of the night

Red Sox starter Brian Johnson surrendered seven hits and four runs in 1 1/3 innings against the White Sox. Boston fell 8-0.

Yankees reliever Stephen Tarpley allowed three runs in one inning on the mound. New York fell 11-7 and remains 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for first in the AL East.


Matt Kemp delivered the Dodgers a walk-off win over the Diamondbacks with a double in the ninth. The win moved Los Angeles into first place in the National League West.

What’s next

Cubs (81-55) at Brewers (77-61) 2:10 p.m. ET — The Brewers will have an opportunity to close the gap in the National League Central when they face the Cubs in a three-game series. Milwaukee enters play trailing Chicago by five games for the division lead. Cole Hamels (4-0, 0.69 ERA) will take the mound for the Cubs while Zach Davies (2-5, 5.23 ERA) is set to start for the Brewers.