Ryan Howard hit three doubles and had four RBI, while Shane Victorino went 3-for-5 with three runs as the Phillies ran away from the Braves, 6-3, to sweep the three-game series in Turner Field and remain 3.5 games ahead of the Marlins in the National League East.
It was a practical stalemate for most of the game, with Adam Eaton (6 IP, 3 ER) matching Jorge Campillo (5.1 IP, 3 ER) and the bullpens doing their jobs. But the Phils got to Blaine Boyer, thanks to Vic and Howard, while Chad Durbin was yet again a savior with a two-inning scoreless run. It was maybe the 20th time the Phils held, then struck, then ran to victory. Brad Lidge threw seven pitches and collected his 17th save.
Today was about Howard, who came out to play and rocked Campillo and Co. Victorino has been hot for some time, and he provided the disruption. In the end, the test of wills was won by Durbin, who has been a godsend for this pitching staff. At $1M, he’s quickly becoming the steal of the season. His effort keyed the sweep, putting the Phils 6.5 games above the Braves and demoralizing them in their own park. With Chipper Jones watching from the sidelines, the Phils practically put their stamp on the division.
Yes, it’s too early to say the division is all but set. We all should remember how far back we stood last season before coming back triumphantly. Still, with a day off and three big wins from the Braves in the rearview mirror, one can’t help but grin widely, just for a moment. Right now, it’s simple to debate that the Phils are the best team in baseball. Drink it in for a moment.
Associated Press photo