The Phillies used a handful of clutch hits and an impressive outing from Jonathan Pettibone to beat the Atlanta Braves 7-3 on a steamy Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The game time temperature was a stifling 94 degrees. Pettibone (5-3, 3.84 ERA) allowed only one run in 5.1 innings to earn his fifth win of the year.
The Phils’ offense provided the righty with two runs in the first, two more in the fourth and another in the fifth on a solo shot from Domonic Brown. Brown went 2-for-4 on the day with a triple, a home run and two RBIs. Ben Revere’s two-out double in the fourth proved huge when the Braves scored two runs off the Phillies bullpen after Pettibone’s exit.
After winning consecutive series against first place Pittsburgh and Atlanta, the Phils will host the Nats, winners of four in a row, at Citizens Bank Park starting tomorrow night.
OFFENSE SHOWS SIGNS OF LIFE
– With Freddie Freeman holding Chase Utley on at first base, Brown ripped a two-out line drive off Freeman’s glove and into the right field corner in the first, scoring Utley and putting Brown at third base with a triple. Two batters later, Delmon Young plated Brown with a bloop single into center field for a 2-0 Phillies lead. In a sweltering heat, the Phils forced starter Kris Medlen to throw 23 pitches in the first.
– Revere stayed hot in the fourth inning when he drove the first pitch he saw from Medlen into the left center field gap for a two-RBI triple. Revere’s knock, the second triple of the day for the Phils, picked up Carlos Ruiz, who flew out to shallow left two batters earlier with runners on second and third and no outs. Revere’s average is at .295 on the year (with a slash of.295/.331/.342) and he has hit over .300 in every month but April. He is batting .370 with runners in scoring position, to lead the team, and is now 11 for his last 21 with ducks on the pond.
– Brown continued his assault on major league pitching in the fifth, smashing a one-out laser into the first row of seats in right field. The pitch from Medlen was a good one, low and inside, but Brown was somehow able to turn on it enough to get the bat head out in front of the ball. The result was his 23rd home run of the season. Brown is currently on pace to hit 42 home runs and drive in 113. The Phils added two more in the sixth inning on a wild pitch and a throwing error.
PETTIBONE GOOD AGAIN
– Considering how hot it looked out there, Pettibone was very, very good on Sunday afternoon… especially in the early going (and when compared to Medlen). In all, the right-hander allowed one run on five hits in 5.1 innings, throwing 96 pitches and walking only one. He retired 12 of the first 13 hitters, including eight in a row heading into the fifth inning. Through four, Pettibone induced seven ground ball outs, one pop-up and K’d four… which will be a recipe for goose eggs more often than not.
– He ran into some trouble in the fifth, giving up consecutive hits to lead off the inning, but showed remarkable composure by striking out B.J. Upton and Chris Johnson before Medlen, of all people, lined an RBI single into left. With a pitch count of 96 and two runners on, Pettibone gave way to the bullpen the next inning. Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus were able to get out of the jam unscathed, preserving an impressive line for Pettibone on a scorching-hot day.
– Pettibone’s moxie has been on display throughout the year and today was no different. More important, however, is that the righty has rebounded in July after tallying a 5.14 ERA in June. In 11 July innings, Pettibone has allowed only two runs and has wins against two first place teams in Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
RUF SOLID IN FIRST START OF 2013
– In his first start since being called up, Darin Ruf went 1-for-2 with a strikeout, a double, a walk and two runs. The big righty, starting at 1B, laced an outside fastball from Medlen into the right field corner for a double, later scoring on Revere’s bases-clearing triple. He walked in the sixth inning and saw a total of 15 pitches in three plate appearances, taking the count full twice.
DID YOU NOTICE?
– For about five minutes in the fourth inning, the world as we know it, or at least as it relates to Delmon Young, seemed to turn upside down. First, Young battled out of a 0-2 hole to draw a lead off walk, fouling off three pitches from Medlen in the process. Medlen must have been as frazzled as I was, because the cement-footed Young drew two throws to first during the following at-bat. Order was restored shortly thereafter when Young failed to score (or even come close to it) on Ruf’s double down the right field line.
– Angel Hernandez ejected B.J. Upton in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes after the center fielder was caught looking at a Pettibone change-up in a big spot. It looked like the pitch caught the outside corner, but it’s been that kind of year for Upton, who is now hitting .175.
– Jimmy Rollins went 0-for-4 to end a nine-game hit streak. Rollins is now hitting .263/.323/.358 on the year, down from his .270/.328/.429 career mark (but probably not as much as you’d think). The big difference here for Rollins is obviously the power, as he’s on pace for only seven home runs. The last time the shortstop didn’t eclipse 10 home runs in a non-injury plagued season was 2003.
– Charlie Manuel continued to employ his mix-and-match strategy with the Phillies bullpen. It (sort of) worked on Sunday, as the much-maligned unit “only” surrendered two runs in 3.2 innings. J.C. Ramirez gave up the first runs of his young career, but Diekman, De Fratus, Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon were effective in shutting the door on the Braves.