By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
PHILADELPHIA—The walk-up song for Phillies centerfielder Ben Revere is the catchy Pharell Williams hit song, “Happy.”
And that’s the feeling the Phillies will take with them on a 10-game road trip through Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona starting Friday.
Revere’s two-out RBI single driving home Domonic Brown in the bottom of the eighth was difference for the Phillies in a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves in front of 25,750 fans on a crisp Thursday afternoon at Citizen’s Bank Park.
Though hitting for power is not Revere strong suit, hitting it where they ain’t and getting the ball into the outfield is and he was effective when he needed to be. For the game, he was 3-for-4.
“Sometimes, I try to hit homeruns,” Revere said jokingly. “I was waiting for it; I was just kind of patiently waiting to see something happen. I wasn’t trying nothing too big, I was just to put the bat on the ball and find a good pitch. Luckily, it found some outfield grass to score Dom.”
It was the kind of day that things were going well for the Phillies. They even won the replay challenge. In the fifth inning, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons tried to steal second and slid off the bag and was tagged by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. But second-base umpire Bill Welke’s safe called was overturned by the replay officials.
Revere’s game-winning single was the exclamation point for a brilliant pitching performance turned in by A.J. Burnett, who was coming off a small inguinal hernia injury. Though he did not get the win, Burnett was the reason why the Phillies walked away with a victory.
In seven innings, Burnett allowed no runs on just three hits with five strikeouts and just two walks. He threw 101 pitches. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said Burnett made things look easy with his approach on the mound.
“I thought Burnett was much better with his 101 pitches with just two walks. He had better command and he talked about having a shorter stride since his hernia. He looked a little more effortless out there and he didn’t fight himself,” Sandberg said. “He was a little bit more in the strike zone and he did a nice job.”
Burnett said the hernia injury did not bother him. He didn’t feel any pain and wasn’t uncomfortable on the mound. He will have surgery at the end of the season, but will live with the pain which comes off the push off (left) foot.
“It’s there, but the pain level is not there,” said the 37-year-old Burnett. “It’s something that I know is going to be there. I’m going to have to manage it the best way I can. Hopefully, I can do that every time I come out.”
It was the second straight game a Phillies starting pitcher when beyond the sixth inning. Burnett said that’s something the starters are expected to do to take the pressure off the relievers, especially early in the season.
“Your starters need to do it in the first couple of months,” Burnett said. “That’s what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to go deep into games, so those guys are fresh at the end of the year. You want to go deep in those games. The first couple of months we’re supposed to take the haul.”
Meanwhile, a well-rested back end of the Phillies bullpen kept the Braves scoreless for the final two innings. Set-up man Antonio Bastardo got the win in relief, allowing no runs on just one hit.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon got his fourth save of the season. He’s 4-for-4 in save opportunities since blowing his first save opportunity in the Phillies road loss to the Texas Rangers.
“I’ve been able to make adjustments and that’s what this game’s about,” Papelbon said. “Hopefully, I will continue to do that. Texas was one of those things that happen with a closer. You have to put it behind you and keep going.”