ATLANTA — Pete Mackanin had to meet with reporters in the tunnel outside the clubhouse.
The Philadelphia Phillies manager didn’t mind the inconvenience.
Ryan Howard and A.J. Ellis called a team meeting after the Phillies lost for the fourth time in five games, falling 12-2 to the surging Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
“It’s nice,” Mackanin said. “It means somebody cares.”
The Phillies had a total meltdown, falling behind 9-1 in the fourth inning and managing only four hits. For Atlanta, Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 30 games, Matt Kemp hit a two-run homer and little-used Daniel Castro chipped in with a career-best three RBIs.
“I think it’s important to try to finish strong,” Howard said. “It’s easy to cash it in with four games left. You’re not playing for a playoff spot or anything like that. But we want to be able to win and go out on a high note.”
The Phillies couldn’t do much of anything with Mike Foltynewicz (9-5), who 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.
Then there was Philadelphia starter Adam Morgan (2-11), who also went five innings with a much different result. He gave up 10 hits and nine runs, the most he’s allowed in a dismal season.
“He’s got ability,” Mackanin said, “but numbers matter.”
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.”
Kemp hit his 34th homer in a four-run fourth that put the game away. Rookie Dansby Swanson also had two RBIs, while Castro equaled his career high with three hits. He came into the night hitting .189 with just four RBIs.
Freeman extended the longest streak in the big leagues this season with a single in the sixth off Phil Klein. Freeman was 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.”
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.”
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: 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.