Atlanta Braves rookie pitcher Spencer Strider took the ball for the first time in close to a month and quickly took down the first six Phillies batters. But the success was short-lived.
A leadoff walk in the third inning spelled the beginning of trouble.
A wild pitch on a pickoff attempt moved the Phillies runner from first base to third. Strider then gave up an RBI double to fellow rookie Bryson Stott.
Braves manager Brian Snitker then elected to intentionally walk Kyle Schwarber. Strider’s next pitch in the top of the third inning to Rhys Hoskins was hit 394 feet for a three-run homer.
The shortest start of Strider’s brief career was over in just 2⅓ innings. He ended the day with five runs charged to him.
“I’m not sure if he got tired, but just kind of looked like his stuff went down a little bit,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson told reporters after the game. “And I think the at-bat that really got us going was Stotts’ at-bat, how he was grinding and grinding, fouling pitches off. And then, I think, it was a slider that he hooked down the corner.”
Hoskins’ homer came on a fastball at 93.8 mph, the lowest-velocity pitch Strider had thrown all game.
“I thought if he could get out of that third then that’s going to be it. But it didn’t happen,” Snitker said during the postgame media session.
Strider hadn’t pitched since Sept. 18, when he beat Philadelphia for the third time this season.
The right-hander, who turns 24 in two weeks, had been out with a strained left oblique. A day before the NLDS opener, he signed a $75 million, six-year contract.
Strider was relieved by Dylan Lee, who promptly gave up a two-run homer to last season’s NL MVP Bryce Harper.
The Braves’ only run came on an RBI single from rookie Michael Harris II in the top of the sixth inning.
The Braves will send veteran Charlie Morton to the mound for Game 4 Saturday. The Phillies did not immediately announce their starting pitcher. First pitch is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.