Two home run blasts by Ryan Howard and a pair of homers by Jimmy Rollins and Ben Francisco help lead the Phils to a 9-4 victory over the Braves. The Phils’ magic number over both the Braves and the Marlins is now at eight.
The Braves tried to take an early lead in the second with a runner on second and with two men out, as Tim Hudson hits a single to left field. Matt Diaz, who had earlier doubled, rounded third, attempting to score, as Raul Ibanez threw a strike to home plate. Carlos Ruiz, who was blocking home plate, grabbed the ball and held on to it as he tagged out Diaz, keeping the score at 0-0. Ruiz would leave the game later with a sprained wrist. The Braves then took a 1-0 lead in the third as, with one man out, Martin Prado hits a solo home run, his tenth home run of the season. The Phils then took the lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run bomb, his thirty-ninth home run of the year, knocking in Ben Francisco, who had earlier singled, making it 2-1 Phils. The Phils then increased their lead in the sixth as, with two men out, Howard hits a solo shot, his fortieth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Jimmy Rollins, a single by Chase Utley, which sent Rollins to third, a steal of second base by Utley, and then Howard being hit by the pitch, and with one man out, Jayson Werth hits a two-run single, knocking in both Rollins and Utley, making it 5-1 Phils, while sending Howard on to second. The Braves cut the Phils’ lead in their half of the eighth as, with a man on base and with two men out, Brian McCann hits a two-run home run of his own, his twentieth home run of the year, knocking in Prado, who had earlier singled, making it a 5-3 Phils lead. The Phils then broke the game wide open in the ninth as, with two men on, and with one out, Rollins hits a three-run home run, his nineteenth home run of the year, knocking in Paul Bako and pinch hitter Matt Stairs, who had both walked, giving the Phils an 8-3 lead. The next batter, Francisco, then hits a home run of his own, his fifteenth home run of the season, making it 9-3 Phils. In the Braves’ half of the ninth, with a runner on second and with one man out, Adam LaRoche hits an RBI single, knocking in Garret Anderson, who had earlier doubled, making it a 9-4 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score as Chad Durbin got Nate McLouth to fly out to left for the final out.
J.A. Happ received a no-decision as he pitched just three innings, taken out as an injury precaution, giving up only a run on five hits, while striking out one. Kyle Kendrick got the win as he pitched four scoreless innings, giving up three hits. His record is now 2-1 with an ERA of 2.70. Tyler Walker pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits, as he struck out a batter. Ryan Madson collected his twenty-fourth hold as he got out the only batter he would face. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out a batter. Tim Hudson took the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record is now 1-1 with a 3.70 ERA. Kris Medlen pitched a third of an inning, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk. Boone Logan pitched to one batter, hitting him. Manny Acosta pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit. Vladimir Nunez pitched an inning, giving up four runs on two hits and two walks, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Ben Francisco and Jayson Werth both leading the way with three hits each, with Francisco hitting a double and a solo home run, while one of Werth’s hits knocked in two runs. Ryan Howard followed with two hits, both home runs, which knocked in three runs. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley had the other two Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ being a three-run home run. The Phils’ offense appear to be now out of its slump, as the end of the regular season comes closer.
The Phils (86-60, 1st) continue their three-games visit with the Braves (78-69, 3rd) with a night game tonight. The game will be played tonight at Turner Field and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-0, 2.87), who is coming off a win against the Mets in the second game of a doubleheader sweep on September 13, as he pitched eight shut out innings, giving up six hits and two walks, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 1-0 win. The Braves will counter with Javier Vazquez (13-9, 3.01), who is coming off a complete game win against the Cardinals on September 13, as he gave up only two runs on seven hits, while striking out eight, in the Braves’ 9-2 win. The Phils will be trying for the series win tonight, while at the same time trying to lower their winning number even more.