When your starting pitcher has a ball strike ratio of nearly 50-50 while walking six batters, one would think that the starter would have had a rough night.
Thankfully for the Phillies, J.A. Happ has nerves of steel.
Happ went 7.2 innings, allowing just three hits and struck out three en route to his ninth win of the season as the Phillies defeated the Braves 4-1.
Happ looked shaky at times, but refused to get rattled. In the sixth inning, with two down, Happ looked as if the big inning was right around the bend. Instead, he got Ryan Church to fly out to center, escaping the inning unscathed. Happ also induced two inning-ending double-plays, which allowed him to wiggle out of other jams.
Overall the Braves stranded nine and Happ allowed just one run on a good pitch taken deep by Matt Diaz.
Ryan Howard had a night for the ages as he went 3 for 3 with two bombs, one a three-run shot, with a single and a walk. Howard accounted for all four Phillies runs.
Howard was good in the field as well, snagging a hot line-drive early in the contest and starting and finishing a double play in the seventh.
Other than Shane Victorino’s 2-4 night, the Phillies offense still looked a bit sleepy although they only left four on base. The team still continues to struggle with runners in scoring position, going just two for their last 20.
The bullpen was able to nail down the win as Ryan Madson, Scott Eyre, and Brad Lidge combined to work 1.1 innings allowing just one hit and walk.
After blowing two saves during the week, Brad Lidge notched his 23rd save of the season, after facing just one batter.
The Phillies will enjoy an off day on Monday before opening a three game set with Arizona at home.