PHILADELPHIA — Dallas Keuchel made the Philadelphia Phillies look foolish for not calling him when he was available.

Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer, Keuchel struck out eight in six innings and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves beat Philadelphia 3-1 Wednesday night.

The Braves reduced their magic number to eight. They have a 9 ½-game lead over Washington with 15 left.

Any combination of eight Braves wins or Nationals losses will seal the East division title for Atlanta.

The Phillies and New York Mets are tied, two games behind the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee for the second NL wild-card spot.

Keuchel (8-5) gave up one run and three hits to win his fifth straight start.

The Braves are 19-4 since Aug. 17 and 44-28 on the road this season. Their .611 road winning percentage is tops in the National League.

Braves Tyler Flowers Josh Donaldson Mark Melancon
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Despite a suspect rotation, the Phillies didn't pursue Keuchel in free agency while he sat for several months. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner eventually signed a one-year, $13 million deal with Atlanta in June.

"I think a lot of those guys over there in the front office are second-guessing themselves and I would, too," Keuchel said.

Keuchel lowered his ERA to 3.35 and the Braves are 10-6 in his starts.

"The guy competes," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He leaves it out there every time he pitches. I mean, he gives everything he has out there."

Chris Martin struck out the side on nine pitches in the seventh. Shane Greene worked the eighth and Mark Melancon finished for his 10th save in 10 tries with Atlanta.

Melancon got some defensive help to close it. With two runners on and one out, shortstop Dansby Swanson made a leaping catch on pinch-hitter Brad Miller's liner up the middle. Third baseman Josh Donaldson then reached over the dugout railing and snared Maikel Franco's foul pop.


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