Phillies lose 9-3 in opening day matchup with Braves

by 24USATVMarch 30, 2024, 2 a.m. 20
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The late collapse in the Phillies’ 142nd opener wasted a strong outing for ace Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler struck out five and walked none over six shutout innings in his first opening-day start. He took a no-decision when Adam Duvall ripped a two-RBI double to left off Matt Strahm in the seventh that tied the game 2-2.

Braves ace Spencer Strider, a 20-game winner last season, tossed only five innings and surrendered Marsh’s shot to left in the fifth. Strider pitched to derisive chants of “Stri-der! Stri-der!” from 44,452 full-throated Phillies fans already in postseason form.

The Phillies and Braves are entrenched in one of baseball’s most intense rivalries the last few years. The Braves are the class of the division with six straight NL East titles and the 2021 World Series.

Philadelphia earned a wild-card berth out of the division the last two seasons — and eliminated the Braves at Citizens Bank Park in each of the last two seasons in the NL Division Series.

The Phillies missed a World Series ring after losing to Houston in 2022 and blowing a 3-2 lead in a seven-game loss to Arizona in last season’s NL Championship Series.

“Last couple of seasons, you get close. You can taste it, you can feel it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “They want it, they really do. It’s not something we talk about every day. But it’s part of the conversation certain days.”

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