For his second straight start, Brett Myers will be unable to get through the fifth inning as the Braves would bust the game wide open on a Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run in a six run fifth, as the Phillies fall to the Braves, 10-4. A Mets lost to the Cubs in extra-innings still leaves the Phillies ahead in the East by a game and a half while the magic number to clinch the East drops down to three. The Braves would score first in the first inning as, with two men on and no one out, Martin Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Anderson, who has earlier doubled, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while sending Kelly Johnson, who has earlier singled, to move on to second base. One out later, after Johnson has stolen third, as Brain McCann strikes out, to put runners on the corners, Casey Kotchman would make it 2-0 Braves, as he would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, and sending Prado to third. Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would finally get out of the inning by getting Omar Infante to hit into a double play, 1-6-3, cutting down Kotchman at second. The Phillies would get a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled and has went to third on Shane Victorino’s ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Johnson, who would then commit a fielding error that would allow Victorino to reach base, making it 2-1 Braves, while Victorino would go to second. Chris Coste would then end the inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, cutting down Feliz at second. The Braves would make it 3-1 in the third, as, with a runner on third and one out, Kotchman would hit into an out to Ryan Howard, for the second out of the inning, scoring McCann, who has earlier doubled, and has gone to third as Jayson Werth threw out Prado, who has earlier singled, when he tried to score on McCann’s double, with Coste supplying the tag, for the inning’s first out. The Phillies would get it back in their half of the third, when, with two outs, Chase Utley would hit a solo home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2 Braves. The Phillies would tie it up in the fourth as Howard would hit a lead off home run, his forty-seventh home run of the year. Burrell would then follow with a double. After a Victorino fly out to right would move Burrell to third, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would come out and relieve Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would then proceed to strand Burrell at third as he first get Feliz to strike out for the inning’s second out and then get Coste to end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Braves would then retake the lead in the fifth. After getting the lead-off batter to fly out, Myers would give up a walk to Prado. McCann would follow with a RBI double, scoring Prado, and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. After Myers intentionally walk Kotchman, Charlie Manuel would take out Myers and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would get the next batter, Infante, to hit a grounder to Howard. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Howard would throw to second, trying to force out Kotchman. Sadly, the plan backfired as the ball hit Kotchman and would go into right field, allowing McCann to score, making it a 5-3 Braves’ lead, with Kotchman safe at second and Infante on first thanks to Howard’s throwing error. This would become important as Durbin would strike out Jeff Francoeur for the inning’s second out, as it could’ve been the inning’s final out if Howard had gone to first and not second, leaving the Phillies’ trailing by one run. The next batter, Brandon Jones would then hit a RBI single, scoring Kotchman, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead and putting Infante on second. Chipper Jones is then sent out to pitch hit for Carlyle. Durbin is then replaced with Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies hope would be able to handle C. Jones. Sadly, he would not as C. Jones would hit a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, knocking in both Infante and B. Jones, and giving the Braves a 9-3 lead. Eyre would then end the inning by striking out Anderson. That six run fifth inning would seem to take the fight out of the Phillies, as they would be unable to mount anything against the Braves’ relievers. The Braves, in the meantime, would tack on an extra run in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, who has earlier walked, and has stolen second, to give the Braves a 10-3 lead, The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the eighth, as, with runners on second and third, and one out, Burrell, who has earlier walked, would score on McCann’s pass ball, making it a 10-4 Braves’ lead, and sending Victorino, who has earlier double, to move to third. But that was where he would stay as Braves’ reliever Julian Taveraz would strike out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs for the inning’s second out and then strikes out pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the inning. The Phillies would then go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame.
Brett Myers would take the lost as he would only be able to go four and one third innings, giving up six run, four of which were earned, on ten hits. His record is now 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, on one hit while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch and inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jo-Jo Reyes would get a no decision, as he pitches three and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Buddy Carlyle would get the win as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Vladimir Nunez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Jorge Julio would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Julian Taveraz would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk. Manny Acosta would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
The Phillies’ offense has once again gone silent for most of the night, being unable to do any real damage on Jo-Jo Reyes before he got yanked in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then being kept quiet for most of the night by the Braves’ bullpen. Of course, Brett Myers being unable to put down the Braves earlier in the night didn’t help matters and Ryan Howard’s fielding blunder of throwing to second base for the force instead of going to first for the sure out would open up the flood gates that would turn the game into a blow out in the fifth inning thanks to Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run. Sigh, I hate reruns like this. I wonder why this team never make pennant winning easy or fast. Luckily, a Mets’ lost to the Cubs in extra-innings has dropped the Phillies magic number down to three. Anyway, with the day off today they should be able to regroup and forget this series before they meet the Nationals for the final three games of the season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, as a big storm is heading in the direction of both Philadelphia and New York, which could play a factor in both the Phillies-Nationals and the Mets-Marlins series. I guess we’ll see what develops by friday night.
The Phillies are still a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they lost to the Cubs in extra-innings, with one more game to play in their four games series tonight. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and the Brewers are now tied for the lead as the Brew Crew defeated the Pirates, with one more game left in their series. This bring up several interesting scenarios for the start of tomorrow night’s series (Phillies-Nationals, Mets-Marlins, Brewers-Cubs): 1) A Mets lost to the Cubs and a Brewers lost to the Pirates would place the Mets two games behind the Phillies and leaving both teams two games behind the Phillies in the wild card (the best of the four scenarios); 2) A Mets lost and a Brewers victory would put the Mets two games behind the Phillies and a game behind the Brewers in the wild card (the preferred scenario as it would force the Mets to get past two teams); 3) A Mets win and a Brewers lost would put the Mets a game behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Brewers (bad, as it will put the pressure back on the Phillies to try to win two against the pesky Nationals); and 4) both the Mets and the Brewers win, putting the Mets a game behind in the East and both teams a game behind the Phillies in the wild card (very bad as the Phllies will have to worry about both teams). While I prefer scenario number two, I would rather the Phillies would just go out and cream the Nationals and let everything else just sort itself out.
Phillies’ starter rookie J.A. Happ records his first major league victory as he shuts down Atlanta for six innings as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 6-1. The victory keeps them in first place in the East as the Mets finally defeated the Nationals. The Phillies’ bat would take the pressure off of Happ by batting around in the first inning. After Jimmy Rollins would ground out, 3-1, for the first out of the inning, Chase Utley would get on base with a walk. Jayson Werth would follow with a walk, moving Utley to second. Ryan Howard would then hit a RBI single, scoring Utley and sending Werth to second for a quick 1-0 lead. It would become 2-0 as Werth would steal third and then go home on Braves’ catcher’s Brian McCann’s throwing error, while Howard would move up to second on the error. After Pat Burrell flies out to right for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would get on base with a single, sending Howard to third, putting runners on the corners. After Victornio steals second, putting two men in scoring position, Pedro Feliz would get on base with a walk, loading the bases. Carlos Ruiz would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Howard and Victorino, giving the Phillies a 4-0 lead, and sending Feliz to second. Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens would finally end the inning by striking out Happ. With the four run cushion, Happ would go to work against the Braves, giving them very few base runners in the early innings. The Braves would put up a threat in the fifth, as Casey Kotchman would lead off the inning with a double, the Braves’ first extra-base hit, and the first Brave to get into scoring position. But Happ would then get out the next two batters via fly outs, Jeff Francoeur to left and Josh Anderson to center. The next batter, pinch hitter Yunel Escobar would then get on base with a walk, putting two men on. After Escobar is replaced by pinch runner Brandon Jones, Happ would end the inning by getting Martin Prado to ground out, 6-3. Happ would stay in for one more inning, putting the Braves down easily in the sixth, before handing the ball over to the bullpen. The Phillies would finally add a run in the eighth, as, with runners on first and third and one out, Feliz would hit a ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Kelly Johnson. Instead of throwing to second to start an inning ending double play, Johnson would throw to first to get out Feliz for the second out of the inning, allowing Eric Bruntlett, who was pinch running for Burrell, who has earlier reached base with a single, and then would move to third on Victorino’s single, to score, making it 5-0 Phillies, while sending Victorino to second. The Phils would tack on one more run in the ninth as pinch hitter Matt Stairs would hit a pinch hit home run, his twelfth home run of the year and his first as a Phil, to give the Phils a 6-0 lead. In the bottom half of the ninth, the Braves would finally score a run as, with a runner on second and two out, Greg Norton would get a RBI single, scoring Francoeur, who has earlier singled and has moved to second on defensive indifference, making it a 6-1 Phillies’ lead. But Clay Condrey would end the game by getting Gregor Blanco to fly out for the game’s final out.
J.A. Happ would get the win, the first in his major league career, as he pitches six shut out innings, giving up only three hits and one walk, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with an ERA of 4.24. Chad Durbin would pitch an inning and two-thirds of relief, giving up two hits and a walk. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. Jair Jurrjens would get the lost, as he would go five innings, giving up four earned runs, all in the first, on five hits and five walks. His record is now 13-10 with an ERA of 3.72. Vladimir Nunez would pitch two and a third innings, giving up an earned run on three hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch one and two-thirds innings, giving up an earned run on two hits.
The Phillies’ offense, although it got ten hits, would not deliver the knock out blow to Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens after he has escaped the first inning, wtihin which he threw over 40 pitches and gave up all four runs that he would give up that night, as he walked three batters along with three singles. Jurrjens would then calm down enough to get through five innings. But, it wouldn’t matter as the four run cushion would help to relax J.A. Happ enough to allow him to go six innings, with the fifth being the only inning that the Braves would actually make a threat and come away with nothing for their efforts, as he went after the Braves’ hitters. The offense would later add two insurance runs in the late innings to guarantee the win. The victory put the Phillies eighteen games over .500 as the team rides a six games winning streak, their highest this season, while they won their eighth straight game at Turner Field.
The Phillies (85-67) will play the last game of their three game road trip with the Braves (67-85) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (13-9, 3.11), who is coming off a good start against the Brewers on September 13, where he’d pitched six and a third innings of good ball, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 win. In his last start against the Braves on July 26, Hamels would receive a no-decision as he went only three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, only four of which were earned, on six hits, in the Phillies’ dramatic 10-9 come from behind win. In three starts this year, including the disaster of July 26, Hamels’ record against the Braves is 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA. He will be going for his fourteenth win of the year while trying to complete the third sweep of the Braves at their own home park. The Braves will counter with Mike Hampton (2-2, 5.34), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on September 13, as he would go six innings, giving up just two earned runs on six hits, in the Braves’ 3-2 win. His last start against the Phillies was on July 26, where he would also receive a no-decision as he pitched only four innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 10-9 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to stop the suddenly revised Phillies’ offensive juggernault.
The Phillies are still a half game ahead of the Mets as they defeated the Nationals last night. They are still five and a half games in front of the Marlins, as they defeated the Astros once again. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets still have a half game lead over the Brewers as they defeated the Cubs, for the moment putting on hold the Cubs’ clinching party. The Astros now trail the Mets by three and a half game after their lost to the Marlins. The Phillies will be looking to extend their winning streak to seven games as they plan to do something that is always hard to do: Sweep their opponent in their home ball park, for the third time this season. If this happens, if would serve notice that the Braves’ reign as a divisional leader is over. GO PHILLIES!!!!