Albies, Olson, Ozuna, Harris hit homers, Braves pound 19 hits in 12-4 win over Phillies

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A year after setting the NL mark for home runs in a season, Atlanta's sluggers are still mashing the ball.

Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson, Marcell Ozuna and Michael Harris II all homered and an expected battle of aces fizzled early in the Atlanta Braves’ 12-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.

A 14-game winner in 2021 and 2022, Atlanta’s Max Fried lasted only seven batters, walked three and got just two outs before he was chased in the first inning trailing 3-2.

No worries for the Braves.

Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola was even worse.

In the right-hander’s first regular-season start since he signed a seven-year, $172 million deal to stay with the Phillies, Nola (0-1) had one of the worst outings of his career. He surrendered homers to Albies and Olson as part of the 12 hits he gave up in just 4 1/3 innings. Nola allowed seven runs on another blustery day in front of 44,068 fans expecting a pitchers’ duel.

The Braves battered Nola — who had made six straight opening-day starts — and five more Phillies pitchers for 19 hits a day after the NL East champs scored seven runs in the eighth inning of a 9-3 win in the season opener.

Nola held his glove in hand, his head down, as he sauntered off the mound in the fifth.

It’s only two games, but in Philly there’s already boos at the ballpark, social media malaise and concern over the state of the pitching staff.

The Phillies allowed 21 runs in the first two games a year after they gave up 27 runs in the first two games of last season.

“The last few days haven't been good,” shortstop Trea Turner said. “Long season, rough start, obviously not what we wanted.”

J.T. Realmuto homered for the Phillies.

Jesse Chavez (1-0) bailed out Fried and pitched three innings out of the bullpen to pick up the win.

“Definitely off a little bit,” Fried said. “I wasn't able obviously to get back on track as quickly as I wanted to and things kind of spiraled out of control.”

Maybe it was the 27-minute rain delay that caused the game to be wonky from the start.

Recently retired Eagles stars Jason Kelce and Fletcher Cox threw first pitches — Bryce Harper had his spikes signed by Kelce and the slugger mimicked Cox’s sack dance.

The game only went downhill for the Phillies. Alec Bohm made an error on the first batter of the game and Albies followed with a homer — the Braves hit 307 of them last season. Harper then put a scare in all of Philadelphia when he chased down a foul ball and cartwheeled over a railing and plopped into a photographers well.

He was fine.

The Phillies made it 3-2 in the first on the strength of a double-steal — led by burly home run hitter Kyle Schwarber, who swiped his first bag since Game 1 of the 2022 World Series.

Hey, the Phillies lost that series, too. And now they’ll lose this one to the Braves, again the frontrunners to emerge as the class of the NL East in the regular season.

Ronald Acuña Jr., Jarred Kelenic, Albies, Harris and Ozuna all had three hits. Ozuna added three RBIs. Much like the Braves bust the game open off Philadelphia’s bullpen in the opener, they scored four runs in the sixth off two relievers.

The Braves have 32 hits, 10 doubles and 14 extra-base hits in the first two games.

“The offense putting up a ton of runs helps, too,” Fried said.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves placed All-Star catcher Sean Murphy on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique muscle.

Phillies right-handed reliever Luis Ortiz was forced out of the game in the sixth inning with a sprained left ankle.

UP NEXT

The Braves will send LHP Chris Sale (6-5, 4.30 ERA in 2023) to the mound against Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (4-6, 4.18 ERA). Sale makes his first start for Atlanta since he was acquired in a December trade with Boston. Sale helped the Red Sox to a World Series title in 2018 but has made just 56 starts in the last four years.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb