Adam Eaton finally gets his third win of the year as the Phillies defeat the Braves once again in their home ballpark, 7-3. The Phillies would score their first run of the game in the second inning, as Pedro Feliz (ground rule) and Chris Coste would hit back to back doubles to score Feliz and give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would try to make 2-0 when Coste would be sent home in an attempt to score on an Eaton single to left. Unfortunately, a strike to home from left fielder Gregor Blanco, and a tag by catcher Brain McCann, would instead end the inning and leave it 1-0 Phillies. The Phillies would add to their lead in the third as Ryan Howard would hit his twenty-first home run of the year, a three-run shot, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, and Chase Utley, who has walked, to make it 4-0 Phillies. They would increase their lead to 5-0 in the top of the fifth as Pat Burrell would hit a solo home run into left field, his twenty-first home of the year. The Braves would cut the lead down to 5-1 in their half of the fifth when pinch hitter Ruben Gotay would hit his second home run of the season. Then in the bottom of the sixth, the Braves would try to get back into the ballgame, loading the bases with a double by Mark Teixeira, a walk to McCann and a single to Kelly Johnson, with nobody out. That would be it for Adam Eaton, who had pitched a good game up to that point. Charlie Manuel would replace him on the mound with Chad Durbin. This would turn out to be a brilliant move as Durbin would get the first batter that he would face, the badly slumping Jeff Francoeur, to hit into a 6-4-3 twin killing, wiping out Johnson at second, while bringing home Teixeira, making it 5-2 Phillies. Durbin would then end the threat by striking out Mark Kotsay. The Braves would get another run in the eighth inning, as Chipper Jones hits his seventeenth home run of the year, a solo shot to center, making it a 5-3 game. The Phillies would then put the game away in the ninth, as they increased their lead. Eric Bruntlett would starts things off with a walk. After Bobby Cox sends out Royce Ring in place of Blaine Boyer, Rollins would greet him with a RBI triple, scoring Bruntlett, and increasing the Phillies’ lead to 6-3. Two batters later, with Rollins still on third and one out, Utley would knock him in with a single, making it 7-3 Phils. That would turn out to be the ballgame, as Brad Lidge would come in and pitch a scoreless ninth, in spite of the Braves loading up the bases, thanks in part to two fielding errors committed by Howard, as Lidge would end the game by striking out Teixeira.
Adam Eaton would get the win, as he pitch well for six innings plus three batters, giving up only two earned runs on five scattered hits. His record is now 3-6 with a ERA of 4.79. Chad Durbin would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up an earned run on one hit, Chipper Jones’ home run. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless, hittless third of an inning, striking out the only man he’d faced. Brad Lidge would pitch a wild, but scoreless ninth inning, giving up a hit while striking out the side. Jorge Campillo took the loss, as he pitched five innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 3-3 with a 2.99 ERA. Jeff Bennett would pitch an inning and a third of scoreless ball, giving up just two hits. Will Ohman would pitch two-thirds of an inning of scoreless ball, giving up no hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit. Royce Ring would pitch an inning, also giving up an earned run on two hits.
It would appear that the Phillies’ bats have awaken from their interleague play slumber as they got thirteen more hits last night, six of which were for extra bases (3 (2B), 1 (3B), 2 (HR)), something that was missing during the slide. If the bats have indeed come back to life, then this is going to be a long summer, for Phillies’ opponents. Also, Adam Eaton might have turned a corner, as he has finally gotten the runs support that has been missing in most of his previous start. If he has been listening to Jamie Moyer for pitching advice, like the previous night’s starter Kyle Kendrick, then the starting rotation might end up getting better as the season progress. But, even with the win, there is one present cause for concern, Ryan Howard’s fielding, as he single handedly almost got the Braves back into the ballgame because of a pair of fielding miscues, especially on the one that lead to the bases being loaded on a ball that he should’ve let Utley field for the final out. Someone may need to take Howard out and help him get the feel of playing first base before it can really hurt the Phils.
The Phillies (46-39) will conclude their three games visit with the Braves (40-45), with a chance for a sweep and, surprises of surprises, a winning road trip. The game will be played tonight at Turner Field, with a start time of 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace, Cole Hamels (8-5, 3.38), who is coming off a good start against the Rangers on June 28, where he went seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 win. He has already faced the Braves this season, pitching a four-hit shut out against them on May 15, going all nine innings, in the Phillies’ 5-0 win. He will be shooting for his ninth win of the year and to complete the Phillies’ second sweep of the Braves in their own home ballpark. The Braves will be sending Jair Jurrjens (8-3, 2.94) to the mound to try and prevent the sweep. He is coming off a victory against the Blue Jays on June 27, where he would pitch eight innings, giving up no earned runs on three hits, in the Braves’ 4-0 win. In his last four starts, he has won three of them, with a no-decision in the fourth, which was also won by the Braves. In those games, he would give up only five earned runs in twenty-seven and two-thirds innings of work, while giving up no earned runs in the last twenty-three and two-thirds innings, while also giving up only twenty-five hits. He will also be shooting for his ninth victory, while seeing if he can stop the Phillies’ just reawaken bats and keep the Braves from being swept for the second straight time by the Phillies.
With the victory, the Phillies stay a game and a half ahead of the Marlins, who had earlier in the day beaten the Nationals. The Phils lead the Mets now by four and a half game as they’d lost their game to the Cardinals. The Phillies lead over the Braves is now at six games with their win. The Phillies will now try to leave Atlanta with a sweep of the Braves, before coming home to Citizens Bank Park to start a three teams, ten games in ten days, home stand before the All-Star break, during which they hope to create some breathing room between them and their nearest opponent.