2011 Game Recaps

Phillies Sneak Past Braves to Claim Series Lead

It was harder than it ought to have been in Atlanta, but Raul Ibanez and the bullpen picked up after a mediocre starting pitching performance in an encouraging reversal of fortune.

The Phillies jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning on a three-run home run by Ryan Howard, who registered his 33rd, 34th, and 35th RBI of the year to reclaim sole possession of the league lead in that category, before the Braves got one back against Cole Hamels in the bottom of the frame. With a 3-1 lead and Braves starter Brandon Beachy out of the game after only two innings due to an oblique injury, it looked like the Phillies would get a chance to score some runs against Braves relievers not named Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel, but Atlanta long man Cristhian Martinez was perfect through four innings of relief, then, to add insult to injury, drove in two runs on a fifth-inning double to tie the game at 3. An error and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out for Brian McCann, who ended the threat by grounding into a double play, the biggest Braves at-bat of the game in terms of win probability.

When, in the next inning, Hamels allowed Alex Gonzalez to score on a wild pitch, it looked like the lefty stood to take his second loss to Atlanta in as many starts. However, Shane Victorino tied the game with a two-out single off Eric O’Flaherty in the seventh, and in the eighth, Raul Ibanez drove in Howard with another single off O’Flaherty. In the meantime, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo got the Phillies out of another bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh without any runs scoring, and Vance Worley and Ryan Madson pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, though both allowed the tying run to reach scoring position.

All in all, it was a comprehensive effort by the Phillies–five relievers combined for three scoreless innings to win it, including Bastardo, who was credited with his second win of the season. On the offensive side of the ball, six different Phillies combined for the team’s ten hits, and every starting position player except Pete Orr reached base, including Shane Victorino, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single.

Joe Blanton will oppose Jair Jurrjens tomorrow afternoon at 1:10.

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