Tagged: Jeff Bennett

Cole Hamels wins his first start as the Phils beat the Braves, 10-6.

After being knocked out of two straight starts by freak injuries, Cole Hamels was able to stay on the mound long enough last night to pitch six strong innings against Atlanta, as he wins his first start of the year, as the Phils defeated the Braves, 10-6.

The Phils took the lead in the second inning, as, with the bases loaded via a walk to Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz reaching base on Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar’s fielding error, and a walk to Chris Coste, and two men outs, Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels hits a ground ball to Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes, after picking up the grounder, threw it away for a throwing error, allowing both Werth and Feliz to score, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, while allowing Coste to go to third, and Hamels to reach second base. Jimmy Rollins then followed with a two-run double, scoring both Coste and Hamels, making it 4-0 Phils. The Phillies added to their lead in the third, as, with one man on base, and one out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his sixth home run of the year, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier hit a ground-rule double, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. The Braves would finally get on the board in the fourth, as, with runners on second and third, and two men out, Brian McCann hits a two-run single, scoring Chipper Jones, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Garret Anderson’s double, and Anderson, who had earlier doubled and had just beaten out Werth’s throw to the plate, cutting the Phils’ lead to 6-2. The Phillies would get one of the runs back in their half of the fourth as Coste hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year, making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils made it 8-2 in the fifth, as Chase Utley hits a lead-off home run of his own, his ninth home run of the year. The Braves made it an 8-3 Phils’ lead in the top of the eighth as Omar Infante hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year. The Phils would get that run back in their half of the eighth, as, with two men on, and one man out, Feliz hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth, who had earlier been hit by the pitch and had gone over to second on Raul Ibanez’s single, making it 9-3 Phils, while sending Ibanez, who had earlier singled, over to third. Two batters later, after Coste had walked to load the bases, with still only one out, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hits an RBI single, scoring Ibanez, giving the Phillies a 10-3 lead, while moving both Feliz and Coste up a base, leaving the bases loaded. Then, in the ninth, the Braves made it a close game, as, with two men on, and nobody out, Casey Kotchman hits a three-run home run, his second home run of the year, knocking in McCann, who had earlier walked, and had gone on to third on Jeff Francoeur’s double, and Francoeur, who had earlier doubled, making it a 10-6 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score as Brad Lidge would get out the next three batters to end the ballgame.

Cole Hamels got the win as he pitched six strong innings, giving up only two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out seven. His record is now 1-2 with an ERA of 6.17. Jack Taschner pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk. Clay Condrey pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out two batters. Jo-Jo Reyes took the lost, as he went five innings, giving up eight runs, only four of which were earned, on five hits and two walks, while he struck out six. His record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 5.48. James Parr pitched a scoreless inning. Eric O’Flaherty also pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Jeff Bennett pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.

The Phillies had eight hits in the game. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste and Greg Dobbs each had a hit, with Rollins, Howard and Feliz’s hits being doubles, while Utley, Werth and Coste’s hits were home runs. Rollins and Werth both knocked in two runs, while Utley, Feliz, Coste and Dobbs knocked in one run each. Hamels has pitched his best game, so far, this season, which could be an harbinger of things to come from the rest of the staff, if they can just follow up the other two quality starts that were thrown earlier this week.

The Phillies (15-12, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (13-16, 4th) at Citizens Bank Park. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports and will start at 3:40 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84), who is coming off a quality start against the Cardinals on May 4, when he went six strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win. He win be trying for both his second straight win and quality start. The Braves will counter with Javier Vazquez (2-3, 4.19), who is coming off a lost against the Mets, also on May 4, as he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out eight, in the Braves’ 6-4 lost. The Phillies will be looking for their second straight win, while looking for the second straight quality start from their starters.

Phillies’ eight-run seventh inning help lead to first victory of the season, 12-11, as Brad Lidge remains perfect in relief.

After trailing the Braves for the third straight game, the Phillies’ eight-run rally in the seventh inning lead to their first win of the 2009 season, as they defeat the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, ending the three-game series on a high note.

The Phillies began the afternoon by receiving their world series ring. After the ring ceremony, Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils, and right from the start was in for a long day as he gave up a two-out two-run home run to Brian McCann, his second home run of the young season, knocking in Yunel Escobar, who had earlier reached second base with a double, giving the Braves an early 2-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up in their half of the second as Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his first homer as a Phil, and the team’s first home run of the season, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled. The Braves retook the lead in the top of the third as they torched Blanton for five runs. After loading the bases via a single to Omar Infante, a walk to Kelly Johnson and another single to Escobar, with nobody out, McCann made the score 3-2 Braves by knocking in Infante with an RBI single, while moving Johnson and Escobar up to third and second respectively, leaving the bases loaded. After Casey Kotchman strikes out for the inning’ first out, Jeff Francoeur made it 5-2 Atlanta with a two-run single to center, knocking in both Johnson and Escobar, while McCann would move safely to third on Shane Victorino’s throw to home plate. Matt Diaz followed with a two-run double, scoring both Francoeur and McCann, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third, as Victorino, who had started the inning off with a triple, scored on an Infante throwing error of a Chase Utley ground ball to third base, making it 7-3 Atlanta. The Braves increased their lead to 9-3 in the fifth as rookie Jordan Schafer hit his second home run of his young career, a two-run shot to right, scoring Diaz, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk. Both runs came off of J.A. Happ, pitching in relief of Blanton, thus ending with one swing of the bat both the bullpen’s hitless and scoreless streak. The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, making it 10-3 Braves, as Chad Durbin gives up a bases loaded walk to Infante, forcing in Kotchman, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Greg Norton’s walk, while moving Schafer to third, who had also walked, and moving Norton over to second base. Clay Condrey then came into the game in place of Durbin and got out of the inning by striking out Johnson. Now trailing 10-3, the offense decided to come to life. Victorino started off the Phils’ half of the seventh by grounding out, 5-3, for the inning’s first out. Utley followed with a single to center. Howard was then hit by the pitch, putting runners on first and second, as Utley moved up to second. The next batter, Jayson Werth, is then walked by Peter Moylan, who was pitching in relief of Eric O’Flaherty, loading the bases with still only one man out. Ibanez followed Werth with a single, knocking in Utley, as he collected his third RBI of the afternoon, making the score 10-4 Atlanta, while sending Howard over to third base, and Werth to second, leaving the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz then singled in Howard, making it 10-5 Braves, while Werth and Ibanez both moved up a base, leaving the bases loaded with Phils. Matt Stairs, pinch hitting for Carlos Ruiz, is given a four pitch walk, forcing in Werth with the third Phils’ run in the inning, reducing the Braves lead to 10-6, as the bases remained loaded. The next batter, pinch hitter Chris Coste, batting for Condrey, also walks, bringing home Ibanez, as the Phils now trailed 10-7, while the bases remained loaded for Jimmy Rollins, who became the ninth batter of the inning. Rollins received a four-pitch free pass, the third straight walk to a Phil batter, and the fourth walk of the inning, forcing in Feliz, as the bases stay loaded, making the score 10-8 Braves. The next batter, Victorino, followed with a single, scoring Stairs, making the score now 10-9 Atlanta, moving Coste and Rollins over to third and second base, respectively, as the bases remained loaded. The eleventh batter of the inning, Utley, walks, the fifth Phil to walk in the inning, tying the ballgame up at 10 all, as Coste crosses the plate, while Rollins and Victorino both moved up a base. Howard comes up to the plate, and with the count 1-1, hit the ball on a bounce towards Braves’ first baseman, Kotchman. Kotchman, having only one play, threw the ball over to relief pitcher Jorge Campillo, the fourth Braves reliever to pitch in the inning, who tagged the bag in front of Howard for the second out of the inning, as Rollins scored the go ahead run, giving the Phils their first lead of 2009, 11-10. Victorino and Utley both moved up a base on the play. Werth ended the inning by flying out to right. The Phils sent thirteen men to the plate, as they scored eight runs in the inning on four hits, five walks and a hit batter. Ryan Madson took over in the top of the eighth, pitching a strong 1-2-3 inning, throwing only seven pitches. The Phils added an insurance run in their half of the eighth, as Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked and had gone to third on Feliz’s double, with nobody out, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge took the mound. Although he gave up a one-out solo home run to Diaz, his first home run of the season, Lidge recorded his first save of the 2009 season, as he struck out pinch hitter Garret Anderson for the final out, for the moment staying perfect in save opportunities as a Phil.

Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he got pummeled by the Braves, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six in four innings of work. J.A. Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, while he struck out two Braves. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and three walks. Clay Condrey received the win as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the one man he would face. His record for 2009 is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as he held the lead. Brad Lidge recorded his first save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out one. Javier Vazquez also received a no-decision, as he pitched six innings for the Braves, giving up just three runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out five batters. Eric O’Flaherty followed him, pitching only a third of an inning, as he gave up two runs on one hit. Peter Moylan pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. Blaine Boyer took the lost as he faced only two batters, with both of them scoring, as he gave up two runs on no hits and two walks. Jorge Campillo blew the save, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, in two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Bennett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had eleven hits in the game, with Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Feliz each getting two hits. Howard, Ruiz and Coste had the other three hits. Ibanez knocked in three runs, Utley brought home two, while Feliz, Stairs, Coste, Rollins, Victorino, Howard and Bruntlett each knocked in a run, with Bruntlett’s coming in on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies collected five extra-base hits in the game, three doubles (Howard, Utley and Feliz), a triple (Victorino) and a home run (Ibanez). After three games, Utley leads the team in hitting with a .364 batting average, followed by Ruiz with a pleasently surprising .333 average.

The Phils (1-2) are off today. Their next game will be on the road against the Colorado Rockies (2-1) in Denver, Colorado, at Coors Field. The game will start at 2:10 pm Mountain Time tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace, Cole Hamels, who ended 2008 with a record of 14-10 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.09 in the regular season. His record for this season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Rockies will oppose him with Jason Marquis, who last season had a record of 11-9 for the Chicago Cubs, with an ERA of 4.53 in 29 games (28 of which were starts). His record for this season is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to even their season record tomorrow.

Phils have now dropped two in a row as the bats are unable to knock in a run as they lose to the Braves, 4-0.

The Phillies have lost their second straight game in the young season as the bats resurrect a major problem from last season, the inability to knock in runs after putting men in scoring position.

Jamie Moyer, starting the game for the Phils, ran into trouble early, as Braves’  lead-off man Kelly Johnson, hammers his first pitch, a cutter, into the right field seats, for his first home run of the season, giving Atlanta a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Chipper Jones, who had earlier reached second on a double with one man out, scored from second base on a Chase Utley fielding error of a Brian McCann grounder, making it 2-0 Braves. The Braves added a run in the fourth inning, as, with runners on first and third, with two outs, Kelly Johnson singled in Jeff Francoeur, who had earlier singled and had reached third on an infield single by Casey Kotchman that Jimmy Rollins was unable to make a play on, increasing Atlanta’s lead to 3-0. The next batter, Yunel Escobar, followed with a single to left, but a strong throw from Raul Ibanez to home plate would cut down Kotchman, as Carlos Ruiz successfully blocked home plate before supplying the tag, for the inning’s final out. Then in the fifth, Jones knocked in the Braves’ final run of the evening as he hit Moyer’s first pitch, another cutter, deep into left field for his first home run of the year, and the Braves’ fifth homer of the young season. The Phillies’ bullpen then took over in the sixth, and, like it did on Sunday night, it would shut down the Braves’ offense for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the Phillies were not having any luck with either Jair Jurrjens or the Braves’ bullpen. Although they would get a few men into scoring position, they would be unable to get the key hit that they needed to bring them home as they ended up being six-hit by Atlanta.

Jamie Moyer took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with an ERA of 7.20. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning of relief, giving up no hits. Jack Taschner followed him, pitching two straight 1-2-3 innings. Clay Condrey also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with two strike outs, as the bullpen has so far pitched seven shut out innings, giving up no hits or walks. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win for the Braves, as he went five and two-thirds shut out innings, scattering four hits, along with three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Jeff Bennett then followed him in relief, giving up a hit to the only batter that he would face. Eric O’Flaherty then came in and pitched an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up a hit. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez then came in to each pitch a scoreless inning, with Soriano striking out a batter.

Among the Phillies batters, Utley and Ryan Howard would each get two hits in the game, all singles. Ibanez and Ruiz had the Phils other two hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, the Phils only extra-base hit of the night. The Phils also had four walks, But, they were unable to knock in any runs, as they left eleven men on base, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, a major problem for the team last season.

The Phillies (0-2) will conclude their short three-game home stand with the Braves (2-0) later this afternoon, as the Phillies receive their World Series rings. The game will begin at 3:05 pm Eastern time at Citizens Bank Park, with the ring ceremony to be performed at 2:15 pm. Starting for the Phillies will be Joe Blanton, who last year went 4-0 for the Phils (9-12 overall) with a 4.20 ERA. His record for the 2009 season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. His opponent will be Javier Vazquez, who in 2008 went 12-16 for the Chicago White Sox with a 4.67 ERA. This season his record is presenty 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phils will be looking to salvage a win at home before they go on the road for their first road trip of the young season, meeting the Rockies in Colorado for three weekend games and then going on to Washington, D.C. to face the Nationals for three games at the start of next week.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Phillies lose tough one to the Braves as their lead in the East shrinks to a game and a half.

A throwing error by Cole Hamels, the lack of a clutch hit with the bases loaded and a base running error in the sixth would all lead to a hard lose as the Phillies lose a close one to the Braves, 3-2. The Mets’ win against the Cubs cuts the Phils lead in the East down to a game and a half and leaves the magic number for winning the East at four while a Brewers’ win leave the playoff magic number at one.

The Braves took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and one out, Kelly Johnson would hit a RBI single, scoring Martin Prado, who has earlier singled, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would tie up the game in the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled, went to second on Pat Burrell’s walk and would go to third on Shane Victorino’s 4-6-3 double play ball, which wiped out Burrell at second. The Braves would retake the lead in the third as, with runners on first and second and two out, Coel Hamels would have Johnson, who has gotten on base earlier with a single and then would move to second on Omar Infante’s single, picked off as Johnson was trying to steal third. But, Hamels’ throw to Feliz at third would go behind the third baseman and into left field, allowing Johnson to score and make it 2-1 Braves. The Phillies would threaten to even the score in their half of the third as they loaded up the bases with a double (Chase Utley), a throwing error by Johnson (Jayson Werth) and a walk (Howard), with two men out. But Braves’ starter Mike Hampton would end the threat by getting Burrell to pop out to the third baseman. The Braves would increase their lead in the sixth, as, with two outs, Casey Kotchman would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, making it 3-1 Braves. The Phillies would get a run base in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI double, scoring Howard, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 3-2 Braves’ lead. Then Burrell would make a crucial base running blunder as, when Shane Victorino hit a hard ground to Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge, instead of going back to second, as he should’ve done, he would be caught off second and then be run down before finally being tagged out by Johnson, with the play going 6-5-4, with Victorino being safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Later, with Feliz batting, Victorino would try to steal second. He would be thrown out by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann for the inning’s second out as Johnson supplies the tag. Feliz would then end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Burrell base running blunder would seems to take the wind out of the Phillies’ sails for the rest of the night as they would be unable to mount another threat as the game ended up being a win for the Braves.

Cole Hamels would take the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, as he struck out seven. His record is now 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09. Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them, while striking out one (Romero). Mike Hampton would get the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His record is now even at 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA. Will Ohman and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both man giving up no hits while Bennett would walk a batter. Mike Gonzalez would record his fourteenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he walked a batter and struck out one.

The Phillies would get done in by the kind of mistakes that they have been avoiding lately, namely a throwing error by Cole Hamels when he had Kelly Johnson dead to rights when Johnson was trying to steal third, being unable to get the clutch hit when they needed it after they had loaded up the bases and Pat Burrell’s base running blunder with no one out. With Hamels’ errant throw, even with his throwing behind Pedro Feliz, if the throw has gone into Feliz’s glove, and Johnson has been safe at third, the Braves would have been turned back as Hamels then struck out Casey Kotchman to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 1-1. This might have been the turning point of the game, as the Phillies, in the later half of the inning, would mount a bases loaded threat that would be turned back because of a pop up into foul territory by Pat Burrell that was caught by Braves’ third baseman Martin Prado. But what really killed the Phillies was Burrell’s later base running blunder in the sixth. With the play in front of him, he should’ve went back to second when Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge caught Shane Victorino’s hard ground ball. Instead, he allowed himself to get trapped between second and third, and then compounded things by not staying in the base paths long enough to allow Victornio to get to second base. An added insult would be Braves’ catcher Brian McCann throwing out Victorino when Victorino tried to steal second. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to bounce back from the lost and win tonight’s game with the Braves.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the final game of their three games home stand with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46), who is coming off his worst outing since his return from the minors, as he lost to the Marlins on September 20, where he only went four innings plus five batters, giving up ten earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 14-8 lost. Myers should be able to come back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, where he pitched a complete game shut out, after his lost to the Marlins on September 10. The lost makes Myers 7-3 since his return. He will be trying for his eleventh win overall while getting the Phillies a bit closer to the playoff with four games left to play. The Braves will oppose him with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on September 19, where he only lasted three and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 lost. Against the Phillies this year, he has appeared in three games, two of them starts, where his record is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA, hoping that he won’t get bombed again by the Phillies’ bats as he starts against them.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead over the Mets down to a game and a half as the Mets defeated the Cubs. The magic number for the Division crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead is still a game over the Brewers as they defeated the Pirates, while their lead over the Astros is now four and a half as they lost to the Reds. The Phillies will be trying to recover from last night’s lost, hoping for another good outing from Myers while hoping to once again sting Reyes and send the Braves packing with another lost.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 6: The magic number into the playoffs is now one as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 6-2.

Behind Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning and the solid pitching of rookie J.A. Happ and the bullpen, the Phillies have defeated the Braves, 6-2, cutting their magic number to get into the post-season down to one and to win the National League East down to four. Their lead in the East has increased to two and a half games as the Mets are unable to stop the Cubs. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Chase Utley, with a runner on second and no one out, would hit a RBI double, knocking in Jimmy Rollins who has earlier doubled. The RBI would be the 100th of the season for Utley, the only Phil, other than Ryan Howard, to knock in so many runs. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the second, as, with a runner on third and one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit into a ground out, second to first, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move up to second on Pedro Feliz’s ground out, 6-3, and would go to third on Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens’ wild pitch. The score would remain 2-0 for the next three innings as a pitchers’ duel developed between Jurrjens, who was able to slow down the Phillies’ offernse after the second inning and Phils’ starter  J.A. Happ, who would be almost unhitable to the Braves’ offense, who would only be able to get two hits and a walk off of him through the first five innings. Sadly, that would come to an end in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Kelly Johnson, would tie up the ballgame at 2-2 as he would slug an 0-1 slider, that was high in the strike zone, into the right field seats, scoring Matin Prado, who has earlier walked. One inning later, the Braves would threaten to take the lead, as with one out, Brent Lillibridge would get on base with a single to left. Jurrjens would then move him over to second with a sacrifice bunt, for the inning’s second out. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Happ and replace him with Rudy Seanez, to face pinch hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch hitting for the originally announced pinch hitter, Yunel Escobar, who in turned was to pinch hit for Josh Anderson. Seanez would proceed to intentionally walk Norton, putting runners on first and second. Seanez would then get the next batter, Prado, to hit into a force out, 6-4, putting out Norton at second, for the final out of the inning. The Braves would then try again in the eighth, as Johnson would lead off the inning with a double, and then would go to third on Victorino’s fielding error. Seanez would then get Omar Infante to line out to Rollins for the inning’s first out. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, would then hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to Rollins, who would quickly throw home, cutting down Johnson, as Ruiz blocks the plate and tags him out, for the second out of the inning, while Francoeur would be safe on first. After Manuel takes out Seanez and replaces him with Scott Eyre, Eyre would get Casey Kotchman to fly out to left for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would get a pinch single off of Braves’ reliever Jeff Bennett. After Dobbs is replaced at first base by pinch runner Greg Golson, the Braves would try to pick Golson off at first. It didn’t work as Bennett would commit a throwing error, as the ball would get past Braves’ first baseman Kotchman, which would allow Golson to go from first to third. After Rollins would ground out for the inning’s first out, Utley would be intentionally walked, bringing up Jayson Werth. Werth would hit a sharp grounder to Braves’ third baseman Prado, who would then throw home in an attempt to cut down Golson. It wouldn’t work, as Golson was off on the crack of the bat, beating Braves’ catcher Clint Sammons’ tag, and scoring the go ahead run as the Phillies took a 3-2 lead, while Utley would go on to second and Werth would reach first on the fielder’s choice. Bobby Cox would then come to the mound and replace Bennett with Will Ohman. After Howard flies out for the second out of the inning, Ohman would be replaced by Julian Tavarez to pitch to Pat Burrell. With the count going to 3-1, Burrell would hit a Tavarez’s fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, scoring both Utley and Werth, and giving the Phillies a 6-2 lead. After Victorino follows with a triple, Tavarez would finally end the inning by getting Feliz to fly out to left. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Ryan Madson. After Madson gets pinch hitter Ruben Gotay to fly out for the inning’s first out, he would give up a pinch single to pinch hitter Chipper Jones. Pinch hitter Brian McCann would then follow him with a deep fly ball to left that would go out of the park, but would be declared a double by the third base umpire Chad Fairchild who would claim that the ball has landed under the yellow line, making it a double and not a home run. A later umpires’ conference would uphold Fairchild’s call, as does instant reply, thus leaving the Braves with runners on second and third with one out and not a two-run homer for McCann. Madson would then buckle down and get Gregor Blanco to fly out to left for the second out of the inning, and then get Prado to ground out, 4-3, to end the game and preserve the win.

J.A. Happ would get a no-decision as he pitches a strong six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, striking out five while walking only two. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up only one hit and walking a batter. Scott Eyre would get the win as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. His record is now 5-0 (3-0 with the Phils) with an ERA of 4.30. Ryan Madson would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits. Jair Jurrjens would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk. Jeff Bennett would get the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on a hit and a walk. His record is now 3-7 with an ERA of 3.86. Will Ohman would also pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Julian Tavarez would also go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.  

The Phillies would score two early runs, which J.A. Happ would hold onto brillantly until he gives up the two-run home run to Kelly Johnson in the sixth. The Phillies offense would then go back to work in the bottom of the eighth, scoring four unanswered runs, with the big blow being Pat Burrell’s three-run shot. The go ahead run that Greg Golson would score on the crack of the bat, would be his first run scored in a major league game. The bullpen would then come in and pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, although Madson almost gave up a two-run home run to pinch hitter Brian McCann, except that the ball would drop into the seats below the yellow line under the railing in left, as confirmed later by instant replay. The Phillies are now on a roll, having won ten of their last eleven games, as they reached a season high twenty-one games over .500, the highest since their pennant winning year of 1993. The Phillies are now one game away from 90 wins, and need just one more game to guarantee a return to the playoffs.

The Phillies (89-68) will continue their series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against the Braves on September 18, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure the playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This is his third start against the Phillies, sporting an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies running into the playoff for one more night.

The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, thanks to the Mets lost to the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers were idle last night, while it is at three and a half games over Houston, who were also idle last night. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 10: Pat Burrell’s two-run blast leads to the third series sweep of the Braves at Turner Field.

A two-run blast by Pat Burrell would be the difference as the Phillies sweep the Braves for the third time at Turner Field, the first time that this has happened to the Braves since the Cubs did it to them in 1909 when they were known as the Boston Doves. The win keep the Phils a half game in front of the Mets in the East as the Mets crushed the Nationals last night. The Phillies would take the lead in the first as, with one out and a man on first, Jayson Werth would hit a RBI double, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to give the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. Werth would then go to third base on Braves’ center fielder Josh Anderson’s fielding error. Ryan Howard would then bring Werth home with a sacrifice fly, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Braves would get a run back in their half of the first as, with a runner on first and two outs, Brian McCann would hit a RBI double of his own, scoring Chipper Jones, who has earlier walked, to make it a 2-1 Phillies’ lead. The Braves would then tie it in the second as Casey Kotchman would hit a lead-off home run, his thirteenth home run of the year. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Braves’ starter Mike Hampton and Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels, with neither pitcher bending, especially Hamels as the Braves would have man on base during all six innings that he would eventually pitch. The Phillies would take the lead for good in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one out, Pat Burrell would hit a two-run blast into the left field seats, his thirty-second home run of the year, and his 250th of his career as a Phil, third on the team’s all-time list, knocking in Howard, who was safe on a force out, giving the Phillies a 4-2 lead. The Braves would get one run back in a very wierd seventh inning. After Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Hamels, has struck out the first two Braves’ batters on six pitches, Kelly Johnson would reach base on a grounder to Howard that was originally called an error as the ball would be deflected by Howard, since Howard should’ve been able to make the play, except that he might have gotten distracted by Johnson’s bat as it got broken by Madson’s 0-2 sinker and part of it flew in his direction, but would later be called a single by the scorer. Jones would then walk, putting Johnson on second. McCann would then hit a fly ball to left, which should’ve been handled by Burrell, but he would be called off by Jimmy Rollins who would end up dropping the ball for an error, allowing Johnson to score, making it 4-3 Phillies, and for Jones to move up to third while McCann was safe at first. After McCann is replaced at first by pinch runner Brent Lillibridge, Lillibridge would go to second on Madson’s wild pitch, putting the go ahead run in scoring position. But that would be as far as the Braves would get as Madson would get Omar Infante to pop out to third for the inning’s third out. The Phillies would fail to add an insurance run in both the eighth and ninth innings, while J.C. Romero would keep the Braves from doing any damage in the bottom of the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Lidge would be given the ball, and unlike Tuesday’s night wild ninth, he would put down the Braves 1-2-3 for his thirty-eighth save of the year in thirty-eight tries.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five. His record is now 14-9 with an ERA of 3.10. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk, while striking out two. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit. Brad Lidge would get his thirty-eighth save of the year as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out two. Mike Hampton would take the lost as he goes seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits. His record is now 2-3 with a 5.05 ERA. Julian Tavarez and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit (Tavarez) and walking a man each.

Although the Phillies’ bat weren’t as damaging as they were in the first two games, they were able to outscore the Braves as they accomplish something that has not been done to the Braves for 99 years, since the Cubs beat them in eleven home games when they were known as the Boston Doves in 1909: sweep the Braves in their home ball park in three straight home series. Also, this is the first time since 1943, when the Braves were still playing in Boston, that the Braves have lost nine home games to another franchise. This was mainly because the Phillies’ pitchers were able to keep the Braves from being able to score after getting a runner on base, since they had at least one man get on base in the first eight innings before Lidge would come in and get a 1-2-3 inning on thirteen pitches. The offensive star of the night was Pat Burrell as he was the only man in the line up to get two hits, as he went 2 for 3 with a single and a home run, his 250th as a Phil, putting him in third place on the team’s all time list and 9 home runs behind Del Ennis. The rest of the starters would get at least a hit, except for Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, who would both take the collar, although they both would reach base with a walk, while Howard would knock in a run with a sacrifice fly. The presently hot Phillies will need to stay hot, taking their seven games winning streak as they face an equally hot Marlins team who have won their last eight games, as they see their pennant hopes slowly slipping away.

The Phillies (86-67) will played their last three games set on the road as they face the third place Marlins (80-72). The first game of the series will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-11, 4.06), who is coming off a complete game victory against the Brewers on September 14, as he gave up an earned run on two hits, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win in the nightcap of a day/night doubleheader. Since coming back from his minor league assignment, Myers has been red hot, going 7-2 and two no-decisions in eleven starts, with an ERA of 1.80. One of those two losts, sadly, came at the hands of the Marlins on September 10, as he went seven and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 lost. The numbers are deceptive, though, as Myers controlled the fish for the first six innings, giving up just three runs in those innings, but getting almost no support from the Phillies’ bat, especially after they had tied the game in the fifth. Myers will be looking to even his overall record and for his eighth win since his return, while hoping that the Phillies will this time give him some runs support against the fish. The Marlins will counter with Josh Johnson (5-1, 3.30), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on September 13, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 4-2 win. In his previous start against the Phillies on August 5 he picked up a win as he went six innings, giving up no runs on five hits, in the Marlins’ 8-2 win. He will be trying to extend the Marlins’ eight games winning streak while snapping the Phillies’ seven games winning streak.

The Phillies are still a half game ahead of the Mets, as the Mets, after defeating the Nationals last night, head on to Atlanta for a three games series. They are still five and a half games ahead of the Marlins, who have finished sweeping the Astros and will now host the Phils. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets lead over the Brewers is now a game and a half as the Brewers lost to the Cubs in extra-innings. The Brewers will now face the Reds in Cincinnati for three games. The Mets now lead the hot Marlins and the fading Astros by five games, as the fish host the Phillies while the Astros will play the Pirates for three games. The Phillies will be looking to continue their winning streak and to increase their lead in the Eastern Division while trying to end the Marlins’ pennant hopes in both the division and the wild card.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 12: Ryan Howard’s home run is the different in a wild game in Atlanta as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 8-7. Phils once again lead in the Eastern Division.

In a wild game in Atlanta, a Ryan Howard home run would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Braves, 8-7. A Mets lost to the Nationals would put the Phils back into first place in the National League East by a half game. The Phillies would take the lead in the third as, with one man out and with a runner on second, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with a double, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. This would be the first run to be scored off of Braves’ starter rookie James Parr in three starts. The Phillies would make it a 3-0 lead as Jayson Werth would follow with a two-run home run, his career high twenty-third home run of the year, scoring Utley. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single. After Pat Burrell strikes out for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would follow with a double. Unfortunaltely, Howard would be thrown out at the plate trying to score on a good throw from Braves’ right fielder Jeff Francoeur to second baseman Martin Prado to catcher Brian McCann, who would supply the tag on Howard for the final out of the inning. The Braves would come back in their half of the third as Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer would have the first of his two bad innings of the night. After striking out Parr for the inning’s first out, Moyer would hit Josh Anderson, sending him to first. Anderson would then move up to second on a Moyer’s wild pitch. Moyer would then walk Prado, putting men on first and second with one out. Chipper Jones would then follow with a single, loading up the bases. McCann would then hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-1, while leaving the bases loaded as Prado and Jones would each move up only one base. Moyer would then strike out Omar Infante for the inning’s second out. Casey Kotchman would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Prado and Jones, tying up the game at three all, while moving McCann up to third. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Francoeur to fly out. The Phillies would retake the lead in the fourth as, with one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a solo home run, his fourth home run of the year, making it 4-3 Phillies. The Phils would then threaten to score again in the fifth as Werth and Howard would both single with one out, putting runners on first and second. Bobby Cox would then come out to remove Parr and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would proceed to strike out Burrell for the inning’s second out, then get Victorino to ground out 3-1 to end the threat. In the sixth, Moyer would have the second of his bad innings. After getting Kotchman to ground out, 4 to 3, for the inning’s first out, Moyer would give up a single to Francoeur. Moyer would then walk both Brent Lillibridge and pinch hitter Greg Norton to load the bases. Anderson would then hit a sharp ball towards first that would be caught by Howard who would then beat Anderson to the bag for the inning’s second out, as Francoeur scored, tying the game at four runs apiece, while moving both Lillibridge and Norton up a base. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Moyer, replacing him with Chad Durbin to try and put out the fire. Sadly, Durbin would be unable to do so, as he would give up a single to pinch hitter Kelly Johnson, knocking in both Lillibridge and Norton, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead, while Johnson would go to second on Victorino’s throw to the plate that would bounce off the mound, allowing Johnson to move up a base. That would come back to haunt the Phillies later in the inning, as, after Durbin intentionally walks Jones, Manuel would come back out to replace him with Scott Eyre to face McCann. That move wouldn’t work as McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, making it now 7-4 Braves, while sending Jones to second. Eyre would finally end the inning by getting Infante to hit into a force out, 6-4. The Phillies would strike back in the seventh, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Howard would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be misplayed by Infante, thus becoming a RBI triple, while scoring Werth, who has earlier singled, cutting the Braves’ lead to 7-5. Cox would then come out and replace Jeff Bennett with Will Ohman. After striking out Burrell for the inning’s second out, Ohman would give up a RBI single to Victorino, scoring Howard and making it a 7-6 Braves’ lead. Pedro Feliz would then reach base on a throwing error by shortstop Lillibridge, as he threw the base past Prado on a force out attempt, allowing Victorino to reach second. But after Ohman walks pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, he would finally end the inning by getting pinch hitter Matt Stairs to ground out, 3 to 1. The Phillies would then retake the lead for good in the eighth, as with a runner on first with two outs, Howard would hit his major league leading forty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead. In the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge for the save. But, it would not be easy. Lidge would start off the inning by walking Jones. Lidge would then get McCann to pop out to Utley under the Infield Fly Rule, although Utley would pretend to miss the ball, to try for a force out, but the umpire wouldn’t go for it. The next batter, Infante, would then hit a sharp ground ball to Feliz. Although hit hard enough for a double play ball, Feliz would only have one play, to first, throwing out Infante, as Jones was running on the play, reaching second safely. Lidge would then proceed to walk both Kotchman and Francoeur to load the bases, with two men out, for Gregor Blanco. Lidge would then strike out Blanco swinging on a 2-2 slider, ending the game as he finally records his thirty-seventh save in thirty-seven tries.

Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision, as he would goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out six, as he would have two very bad innings that would hurt him. Chad Durbin would pitch to two batters, getting neither of them out, as he gives up an earned run on a hit and walks a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Ryan Madson would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out three. His record is now 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, although he would give up three walks while striking out one as he records his thirty-seventh save of the year. James Parr would also get a no-decision, as he is able to last only four and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief, giving up no hits while striking out two. Will Ohman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Jeff Bennett would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit. Julian Tavarez would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits and a walk. Mike Gonzalez would get the lost as he receives his second blown save of the year as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run, Ryan Howard’s home run, on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Jorge Julio would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits while walking a batter as he struck out the side. 

Two bad innings almost did in Jamie Moyer and the Phillies as Moyer would lose control of his stuff in both the third and the sixth innings, giving up three runs in both, as he gave up in those two innings four singles and four walks, along with a hit batsman. But this time the offense would refuse to die, thanks to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. The game’s star, a red hot Howard, would be a double short of hitting the cycle, as he went four for five, getting two singles, a triple and a home run, knocking in three runs while scoring two. Victorino would follow by going three for five with two singles and a double, knocking in a run. Jayson Werth would be next as he went three for four, getting two singles and a home run, knocking in two runs while scoring three. Jimmy Rollins would go two for five with a single and a double, scoring a run. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley would also contribute with a home run (Ruiz) and a RBI double (Utley). The only ones who would not contribute would be Pedro Feliz, who would get on base with a walk, and Shane Victorino would go 0 for five, striking out all five times. In a fourteen hit attack, half of the hits would be for extra-bases (2B (3), 3B (1), HR (3)), showing that the Phillies’ offense, in general, is hot at the moment, a situation that will hopefully last to the end of the year.

The once again first place Phillies (84-67) will play the second of their three games against the fourth place Braves (67-84) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound, in place of the presently ineffective Kyle Kendrick, rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 5.71), who will be making his third start for the Phillies, still looking for his first major league win. His last appearance was in relief against the Marlins on September 9, as he would pitch three and a third innings in relief of Kendrick, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 10-8 lost. His last start was a no-decision on July 9 against the Cardinals, where he went six and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. The Phillies have won both of his starts, although he would receive no-decisions in both games. He will be trying for his first win while trying to keep the Phils in first place as he face the Braves for the first time in his short major league career. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on September 11, where he went six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-4 win. He has faced the Phillies two previous times, winning his last meeting against them on July 25, as he went eight innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 win. His record this year against the Phillies is 1-1. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to put an end to the Phillies’ seven games winning streak at Turner Field.

With the win, the Phillies jump back into first place, a half game ahead of the Mets who lost last night, 1-0, to the Nationals. They are still five and a half games over the Marlins, who defeated the Astros. The Phillies’ win and the Mets lost would put the Mets back into the Wild Card race, where they now have a half game lead over the Brewers, after their lost to the Cubs, who are out to clinch the National League Central Division this week. With eleven games left in the season, the Phillies are out to extend their present winning streak to six games and their winning streak at Turner Field to eight games, while hoping to extend their lead over the Mets in the East.