ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves are giving themselves plenty of reasons to be hopeful about 2017, from a surging offense to improved young pitching.
All of it was on display Wednesday night in a 12-2 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games. Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer. Little-used Daniel Castro had a career-best three RBIs.
On the mound, Mike Foltynewicz (9-5) pitched two-hit ball over five innings in his final start of the season — and his first since leaving a Sept. 12 game against Miami after being hit in the left calf with a liner.
“When the atmosphere is like this, it’s definitely contagious,” Castro, who was hitting .189 and had just four RBIs for the season, said through a translator. “The team feels good. You feel good.”
The Braves won for the ninth time in their last 10 games, building some momentum for their move to SunTrust Park next season. Since an 18-46 start, when they had the look of one of the worst teams in baseball history, they’ve gone 47-46 under interim manager Brian Snitker.
“It was another high-energy, get-after-it game,” Snitker said. “I hope we keep adding to that.”
The Phillies are heading in the opposite direction. They lost for the fifth time in six games, prompting Ryan Howard and A.J. Ellis to call a team meeting that forced manager Pete Mackanin to huddle with the media in a tunnel outside the clubhouse.
“It’s nice to see,” Mackanin said. “It means somebody cares.”
Adam Morgan (2-11) lasted five innings, giving up 10 hits and nine runs, the most he’s allowed in a dismal season.
“It’s all about pitching,” Mackanin said. “Pitching keeps you in games.”
Atlanta jumped ahead in the second when Dansby Swanson hit a run-scoring triple and Castro followed with a single. The Braves added three more runs in the third, with Swanson and Castro each contributing RBI hits, and really poured it on with a four-run fourth. Morgan’s throwing error allowed one run to score, another came home on a wild pitch, and Kemp finished it off with his 34th homer into the seats in left-center.
Castro added another run-scoring single in the seventh, equaling his career high with three hits.
Freeman extended the longest streak in the big leagues this season with a single in the sixth off Phil Klein. Freeman had been tied with Boston’s Jackie Bradley, who put together a 29-game run in April and May.
Freeman had already extended his on-base streak to 46 consecutive games when hit by a pitch in the third, equaling the longest this season in the big leagues. Washington’s Jayson Werth reached base in 46 straight games before his streak was halted Aug. 18.
“You just take it for granted with this guy,” Snitker said of Freeman. “He’s a machine.”
Atlanta rookie Rio Ruiz, who spent most of the season in the minors, tripled in the eighth for his first big league hit.
“It’s great to get it out of the way,” Ruiz said. “It’s even better to get the win.”
THE REAL DEAL
Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield took part in the countdown to the final game at Turner Field, pulling down a banner in left field to reveal “4” — the number of games remaining at the ballpark and the season.
Holyfield lives in the Atlanta area and was among those who carried the torch during the opening ceremony for the 1996 Summer Olympics. Turner Field was initially built as the 85,000-seat main stadium for the games, and then converted to baseball before the ’97 season.
Phillies LF Roman Quinn didn’t play after leaving Tuesday’s game with a strained left oblique. It’s not known if he’ll get back on the field this season.
“He’s more scared than anything that it’s going to recur or that he’s going to make it worse,” Mackanin said. “There’s no sense in him getting hurt with four or five games left in the season.”
Phillies: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (12-10, 3.78 ERA) goes against the Braves for the fourth time in his career. He’s 1-0 with a 4.08 ERA in his previous appearances.
Braves: RHP Josh Collmenter (3-0, 4.19) looks to remain unbeaten in his third start for Atlanta.