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.