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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, September 7th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (85-55) at Philadelphia Phillies (64-77), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Alex Wood (3-3, 3.15) Philadelphia - Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.51)
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves will try to bounce back from their recent loss when they resume a three-game series Saturday with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
The NL East-leading Braves dropped a 2-1 decision in Friday's series opener and were stumped by Cliff Lee, who struck out 10 and did not issue a walk over eight innings. Lee allowed just two hits, including a home run by Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Mike Minor pitched well in defeat, striking out nine and allowing a go-ahead two-run homer to Cody Asche in the seventh inning.
"I threw a lot of quality pitches tonight, it just came at the wrong time for us and the right time for them," Minor said.
The Braves' magic number to clinch the NL East shrunk to nine after the Marlins beat the Nationals on Friday.
Atlanta lost for the third time in 11 tries and hopes Alex Wood can get them back on track Saturday night. Wood pitched only 2 1/3 innings in Sunday's 7-0 loss to Miami and was hammered for seven runs and eight hits, falling to 3-3 with a 3.15 ERA in 24 games (9 starts).
The rookie left-hander has faced the Phillies three times (1 start) and is 1-0 with a 2.35 ERA. Wood was 3-0 in his previous three decisions before his rough start against the Marlins.
Philadelphia will try to throw a wrench in Atlanta's division title plans again and Asche came up huge in Friday's win. Asche is batting .386 with a home run, nine RBI and 17 hits in his last 12 games (11 starts). The rookie third baseman also made some sharp plays on the field to help Lee.
"Of late you can sense he's gotten more comfortable and his skills are showing," Lee said of Asche. "Defensively, he's made some unbelievable plays and he's gotten some big hits for us. I expect him to be a huge part of our team in the future."
Jonathan Papelbon worked around a hit in the ninth for his 25th save and the Phillies won for just the second time in six tries. Philadelphia entered the night with back-to-back losses to Washington.
Kyle Kendrick has hit a rough patch for the Phils and gets the nod Saturday versus the rival Braves. Kendrick has lost two straight starts and is just 1-6 in his past seven decisions. He gave up five runs in six innings of a 7-1 loss at the Chicago Cubs on Sunday and dropped to 10-12 in 28 starts to go along with a 4.51 ERA.
Kendrick, a right-hander, has enjoyed success in his career against the Braves, going 7-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 20 games (14 starts). However, Kendrick lost to the Braves back on July 6, when he allowed six runs -- five earned -- and 11 hits in five innings of a 13-4 defeat.
Atlanta is 8-5 against the Phillies this season.
09/07 10:35:42 ET
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