Results tagged ‘ Casey Kotchman ’

The Phils take the series from the Marlins thanks to a walk-off grand slam home run by John Mayberry, Jr., winning in eleven innings, 7-3.

Philadelphia_PhilliesThe Phils win their series with the fish thanks to John Mayberry, Jr.’s walk-off grand-slam home run in the eleventh, beating the Marlins, 7-3.

The Marlins took the lead in the top of the second as, with runners on second and third, and with nobody out, Casey Kotchman hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, knocking in Marcell Ozuna, who had started the inning off with a double, then moved up to third base on Derek Dietrich’s single, before he moved up to second base on left fielder Dom Brown’s fielding error, giving the Marlins a 1-o lead, while moving Dietrich up to third base. The Marlins increased their lead in the fifth as, with a runner on second, and with nobody out, Rob Brantley hits an RBI single, knocking in Adeiny Hechavarria, who had started the inning off with a single, then moved up to second base on Jimmy Rollin’s error, when he was unable to tag Hechvarria out when Phils’ catcher Humberto Quintero had caught him stealing second, giving the Marlins a 2-0 lead. The Phils cut the Marlins’ lead in half in the bottom of the seventh as, with a man on second, and with one man out, Delmon Young hits an RBI double, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had started the inning off with a double, making it a 2-1 Marlins’ lead. The Phils then tied the game up at two-all two batters later as, with Young still on second base, and now with  two men out, pinch-hitter Erik Kratz hits an RBI double, knocking in Young. The Marlins retook the lead in the tenth as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Juan Pierre, who had started the inning off with a walk, moved up to second base on Ed Lucas’ sacrifice bunt, 3-unassisted, and then stole third base, scored on Antonio Bastardo’s wild pitch, giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead. The Phils retied the game at three-all in their half of the tenth as pinch-hitter John Mayberry, Jr. hits a lead-off home run, his third home run of the season. The Phils won the game in the bottom of the eleventh as, with the bases loaded, via Brown reaching first base on pitcher Edgar Olmos’ fielding error, then moved up to second base on pinch-hitter Kyle Kendrick’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4, Freddy Galvis being intentionally walked, then Kratz being walked, moving up both base runners, and with two men out, Mayberry hits a walk-off grand-slam home run, his fourth home run of the season, his second home run of the game, and his first career grand slam, scoring Brown, Galvis and Kratz, giving the Phils a 7-3 walk-off win.

Jonathan Pettibone received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Jeremy Horst, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon combined for three scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Adams) between them, while striking out four (Horst (2), Papelbon (2)). Antonio Bastardo pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit, a walk and a wild pitch. Michael Stutes (1-0, 1.23) got the win as he threw a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Ricky Nolasco also received a no-decision as he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out six. Mike Dunn pitched one and one-third innings, giving up a walk, while striking out a batter. Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits. Steve Cishek committed his second blown save of the season as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Dan Jennings pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Edgar Olmos (0-1, 0.00) took the lost as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up four unearned runs on one hit and two walks.

The Phils had eight hits in the game, with John Mayberry, Jr. (5 RBIs) leading the team with two hits, both home runs. Michael Young (Single), Ryan Howard (Double), Delmon Young (Double, RBI), Freddy Galvis (Single), pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez (Single) and Erik Kratz (Double, RBI), had the other six Phils’ hits. The Phils also had six walks (Jimmy Rollins (2), Howard, Galvis (Intentional), Kratz, pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen) and a stolen base (M. Young) in the game.

The Phils’ bullpen allows another one to slip away as the Phils fall to the Braves in 10 innings, 5-4.

The Phillies lose in extra-innings as the bullpen blows yet another lead in the late innings, as the Phils lose their first game in a year to the Braves in Atlanta, 5-4.

The Phils took an early lead in the third as, with two men on base, and two men out, Ryan Howard hits a ground-rule double, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled and had gone to third on Chase Utley’s single, making it 1-0 Phils, while sending Utley over to third. The Braves would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with a runner on third and nobody out, Martin Prado hits an RBI single, scoring Gregor Blanco, who had earlier tripled. The Phils regain the lead in the fifth as, with two men out, Utley hits a solo home run, his seventeenth home run of the year, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Braves would tie the game up with one swing of the bat in their half of the inning as Prado hits a lead-off home run, his fourth home run of the season. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, via singles to Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson and a walk to Casey Kotchman, and with one man out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out, scoring Jones and giving the Braves a 3-2 lead, while moving both Anderson and Kotchman up a base. The Phils tied it in the eighth as, with two men out, John Mayberry, Jr., hit a pinch hit home run, his fourth home run of the season. The Phils then retook the lead as Pedro Feliz followed Mayberry with a solo home run of his own, his fifth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 4-3 lead. The Braves would tie the game up yet again in their half of the inning, as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Prado hits an RBI double, scoring Blanco, who had earlier reached base with a walk, and had then gone to second on Ryan Madson’s throwing error when he tried to pick off Blanco at first, while Prado would go on to third when Jayson Werth misplayed the ball for a fielding error. The Braves won the game in the tenth inning as, with runners on second and third, with one out, and with both the infield and outfield in to stop the winning run from scoring, Prado hits an RBI single over Mayberry’s head in left, scoring Matt Diaz, who had earlier singled and then went to third on Blanco’s single, beating Mayberry’s throw to third, giving the Braves a 5-4 extra-innings, walk-off win. 

Joe Blanton got a no-decision, as he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out three. Chad Durbin pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit. Ryan Madson committed his fourth blown save, giving up a run on one hit and two walks, while striking out one. J.C. Romero pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Chan Ho Park took the lost as he gave up a run on three hits, as he struck out one, in one-third innings. His record is now 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA. Derek Lowe also received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. Eric O’Flaherty pitched an inning, getting his eighth hold, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Gonzalez recorded his fourth blown save, as he gave up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter. Rafael Soriano pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Boone Logan pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Peter Moylan got the win, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the two men that he would face. His record is now 2-2 with an ERA of 4.15. 

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Pedro Feliz leading the way with three hits, including a solo home run, knocking in a run, as he raised his average to .295. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both followed with two hits each, with both men knocking in a run, Utley via a solo home run and Howard with a ground-rule double. Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and John Mayberry, Jr. had the other three Phils’ hits, with Mayberry’s being a pinch hit home run. The Phils offense is still somewhat in neutral as they wait for Raul Ibanez to return from the disabled list and their lead-off man, Jimmy Rollins to get it in gear as his batting average continue to go low.

The Phillies (39-35, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (36-40, 4th) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and it will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamel (4-4, 4.44), who is cioming off one of his worst starts this season, as he lost to the Blue Jays on June 26, as he went only four and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 6-1 lost. He will be going out to prove that he is indeed the Phils’ ace starter. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 2.93), who is coming off a lost to the Red Sox on June 26, as he went eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. He wil be trying to rebound from that lost. The Phils as a team now need to forget about June and try to put together a winning streak before the All-Star break, trying to put some serious distance between themselves and the rest of the division. But, they need to start it with a win tonight, and Hamels will have to lead the way by shutting the Braves down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!!!!

Bullpen is unable to hold one-run lead as the Phils fall to the Braves, 4-2.

The Phillies’ bullpen is unable to hold onto a one-run lead late in the ballgame as the Phils fall to the Braves, 4-2.

The Braves took a 1-0 lead in the first, as, with the bases loaded, and nobody out, Garret Anderson hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Kelly Johnson, who had earlier singled, had gone to second base after Yunel Escobar had been hit by the pitch, and had gone on to third when Clipper Jones was walked. The Phils would tie the game at one-all in the second, when, with runners on first and second, and one man out, Pedro Feliz hits an RBI single, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled, while sending to third Matt Stairs, who had earlier walked. The game then became a pitchers’ duel between Phillies’ starter Brett Myers and Braves’ starter Kenshin Kawakami, as Myers would pitch himself out of constant trouble while Kawakami kept the Phils’ bats under control. The Phils took the lead in the sixth, as, with a man on, and one out, Stairs hits an RBI double, knocking in Howard, who had earlier doubled, making it 2-1 Phils. The Braves took the lead in the seventh, as, with the bases loaded, via singles to Escobar and Anderson, and a walk to Brian McCann, and two men out, Casey Kotchman hits a weak grounder up the middle that got through the infield for a two-run single, scoring both Escobar and Anderson, making it a 3-2 Braves’ lead, while sending McCann up to second base. The Braves made it a 4-2 game in the ninth, as, with a runner on first and two outs, Kotchman hits an RBI double, scoring Greg Norton, who had earlier walked. That would end up being the final score as the Phils got shut down in the ninth.

Brett Myers got a no-decision as he pitched a good game, giving up only one run on five scattered hits and two walks, while striking out three. Jack Taschner had his first blown save of the year as he took the lost as he pitched only two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk. His record is now 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA. Chad Durbin pitched an inning and a third, giving up only one hit, as he struck out one. Brad Lidge pitched an inning, giving up a run on a hit and a walk. Kenshin Kawakami got the win as he pitched six strong innings against the Phils, giving up two runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out six. His record is now 2-4 with a 5.79 ERA. Eric O’Flaherty held his third lead of the season as he pitched a scoreless inning, as he struck out a batter. Mike Gonzalez, normally the Braves’ closer, pitched a scoreless inning as he received his first hold of the year, giving up only a walk. Rafeal Soriano collected his third save of the year as he pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up only one hit, while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had only six hits in the ballgame, with Ryan Howard and Matt Stairs each collecting two, including three doubles (two of them for Howard) and a single. Pedro Feliz and pinch hitter Miguel Cairo got the other two hits, both singles. Feliz and Stairs had the Phils two RBIs. Although getting a no-decision, as he pitched his fourth quality start in his last five, as the bullpen is unable to hold the lead for him, Myers has pitched his best game so far this season, mainly because he had established control early in the game by pitching inside to batters, getting them off the plate. Things would probably become even better for Myers once he can put together a 1-2-3 first inning and stop giving up the long ball, as he is presently the Phils’ best starter.

The Phillies (15-14, 3rd) have the day off today. Their next game will be played tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Dodgers (22-11, 1st National League West). The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern at Citizens Bank Park.

Cole Hamels wins his first start as the Phils beat the Braves, 10-6.

After being knocked out of two straight starts by freak injuries, Cole Hamels was able to stay on the mound long enough last night to pitch six strong innings against Atlanta, as he wins his first start of the year, as the Phils defeated the Braves, 10-6.

The Phils took the lead in the second inning, as, with the bases loaded via a walk to Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz reaching base on Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar’s fielding error, and a walk to Chris Coste, and two men outs, Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels hits a ground ball to Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes, after picking up the grounder, threw it away for a throwing error, allowing both Werth and Feliz to score, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, while allowing Coste to go to third, and Hamels to reach second base. Jimmy Rollins then followed with a two-run double, scoring both Coste and Hamels, making it 4-0 Phils. The Phillies added to their lead in the third, as, with one man on base, and one out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his sixth home run of the year, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier hit a ground-rule double, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. The Braves would finally get on the board in the fourth, as, with runners on second and third, and two men out, Brian McCann hits a two-run single, scoring Chipper Jones, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Garret Anderson’s double, and Anderson, who had earlier doubled and had just beaten out Werth’s throw to the plate, cutting the Phils’ lead to 6-2. The Phillies would get one of the runs back in their half of the fourth as Coste hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year, making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils made it 8-2 in the fifth, as Chase Utley hits a lead-off home run of his own, his ninth home run of the year. The Braves made it an 8-3 Phils’ lead in the top of the eighth as Omar Infante hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year. The Phils would get that run back in their half of the eighth, as, with two men on, and one man out, Feliz hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth, who had earlier been hit by the pitch and had gone over to second on Raul Ibanez’s single, making it 9-3 Phils, while sending Ibanez, who had earlier singled, over to third. Two batters later, after Coste had walked to load the bases, with still only one out, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hits an RBI single, scoring Ibanez, giving the Phillies a 10-3 lead, while moving both Feliz and Coste up a base, leaving the bases loaded. Then, in the ninth, the Braves made it a close game, as, with two men on, and nobody out, Casey Kotchman hits a three-run home run, his second home run of the year, knocking in McCann, who had earlier walked, and had gone on to third on Jeff Francoeur’s double, and Francoeur, who had earlier doubled, making it a 10-6 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score as Brad Lidge would get out the next three batters to end the ballgame.

Cole Hamels got the win as he pitched six strong innings, giving up only two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out seven. His record is now 1-2 with an ERA of 6.17. Jack Taschner pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk. Clay Condrey pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out two batters. Jo-Jo Reyes took the lost, as he went five innings, giving up eight runs, only four of which were earned, on five hits and two walks, while he struck out six. His record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 5.48. James Parr pitched a scoreless inning. Eric O’Flaherty also pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Jeff Bennett pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.

The Phillies had eight hits in the game. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste and Greg Dobbs each had a hit, with Rollins, Howard and Feliz’s hits being doubles, while Utley, Werth and Coste’s hits were home runs. Rollins and Werth both knocked in two runs, while Utley, Feliz, Coste and Dobbs knocked in one run each. Hamels has pitched his best game, so far, this season, which could be an harbinger of things to come from the rest of the staff, if they can just follow up the other two quality starts that were thrown earlier this week.

The Phillies (15-12, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (13-16, 4th) at Citizens Bank Park. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports and will start at 3:40 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84), who is coming off a quality start against the Cardinals on May 4, when he went six strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win. He win be trying for both his second straight win and quality start. The Braves will counter with Javier Vazquez (2-3, 4.19), who is coming off a lost against the Mets, also on May 4, as he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out eight, in the Braves’ 6-4 lost. The Phillies will be looking for their second straight win, while looking for the second straight quality start from their starters.

Phillies’ eight-run seventh inning help lead to first victory of the season, 12-11, as Brad Lidge remains perfect in relief.

After trailing the Braves for the third straight game, the Phillies’ eight-run rally in the seventh inning lead to their first win of the 2009 season, as they defeat the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, ending the three-game series on a high note.

The Phillies began the afternoon by receiving their world series ring. After the ring ceremony, Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils, and right from the start was in for a long day as he gave up a two-out two-run home run to Brian McCann, his second home run of the young season, knocking in Yunel Escobar, who had earlier reached second base with a double, giving the Braves an early 2-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up in their half of the second as Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his first homer as a Phil, and the team’s first home run of the season, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled. The Braves retook the lead in the top of the third as they torched Blanton for five runs. After loading the bases via a single to Omar Infante, a walk to Kelly Johnson and another single to Escobar, with nobody out, McCann made the score 3-2 Braves by knocking in Infante with an RBI single, while moving Johnson and Escobar up to third and second respectively, leaving the bases loaded. After Casey Kotchman strikes out for the inning’ first out, Jeff Francoeur made it 5-2 Atlanta with a two-run single to center, knocking in both Johnson and Escobar, while McCann would move safely to third on Shane Victorino’s throw to home plate. Matt Diaz followed with a two-run double, scoring both Francoeur and McCann, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third, as Victorino, who had started the inning off with a triple, scored on an Infante throwing error of a Chase Utley ground ball to third base, making it 7-3 Atlanta. The Braves increased their lead to 9-3 in the fifth as rookie Jordan Schafer hit his second home run of his young career, a two-run shot to right, scoring Diaz, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk. Both runs came off of J.A. Happ, pitching in relief of Blanton, thus ending with one swing of the bat both the bullpen’s hitless and scoreless streak. The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, making it 10-3 Braves, as Chad Durbin gives up a bases loaded walk to Infante, forcing in Kotchman, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Greg Norton’s walk, while moving Schafer to third, who had also walked, and moving Norton over to second base. Clay Condrey then came into the game in place of Durbin and got out of the inning by striking out Johnson. Now trailing 10-3, the offense decided to come to life. Victorino started off the Phils’ half of the seventh by grounding out, 5-3, for the inning’s first out. Utley followed with a single to center. Howard was then hit by the pitch, putting runners on first and second, as Utley moved up to second. The next batter, Jayson Werth, is then walked by Peter Moylan, who was pitching in relief of Eric O’Flaherty, loading the bases with still only one man out. Ibanez followed Werth with a single, knocking in Utley, as he collected his third RBI of the afternoon, making the score 10-4 Atlanta, while sending Howard over to third base, and Werth to second, leaving the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz then singled in Howard, making it 10-5 Braves, while Werth and Ibanez both moved up a base, leaving the bases loaded with Phils. Matt Stairs, pinch hitting for Carlos Ruiz, is given a four pitch walk, forcing in Werth with the third Phils’ run in the inning, reducing the Braves lead to 10-6, as the bases remained loaded. The next batter, pinch hitter Chris Coste, batting for Condrey, also walks, bringing home Ibanez, as the Phils now trailed 10-7, while the bases remained loaded for Jimmy Rollins, who became the ninth batter of the inning. Rollins received a four-pitch free pass, the third straight walk to a Phil batter, and the fourth walk of the inning, forcing in Feliz, as the bases stay loaded, making the score 10-8 Braves. The next batter, Victorino, followed with a single, scoring Stairs, making the score now 10-9 Atlanta, moving Coste and Rollins over to third and second base, respectively, as the bases remained loaded. The eleventh batter of the inning, Utley, walks, the fifth Phil to walk in the inning, tying the ballgame up at 10 all, as Coste crosses the plate, while Rollins and Victorino both moved up a base. Howard comes up to the plate, and with the count 1-1, hit the ball on a bounce towards Braves’ first baseman, Kotchman. Kotchman, having only one play, threw the ball over to relief pitcher Jorge Campillo, the fourth Braves reliever to pitch in the inning, who tagged the bag in front of Howard for the second out of the inning, as Rollins scored the go ahead run, giving the Phils their first lead of 2009, 11-10. Victorino and Utley both moved up a base on the play. Werth ended the inning by flying out to right. The Phils sent thirteen men to the plate, as they scored eight runs in the inning on four hits, five walks and a hit batter. Ryan Madson took over in the top of the eighth, pitching a strong 1-2-3 inning, throwing only seven pitches. The Phils added an insurance run in their half of the eighth, as Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked and had gone to third on Feliz’s double, with nobody out, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge took the mound. Although he gave up a one-out solo home run to Diaz, his first home run of the season, Lidge recorded his first save of the 2009 season, as he struck out pinch hitter Garret Anderson for the final out, for the moment staying perfect in save opportunities as a Phil.

Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he got pummeled by the Braves, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six in four innings of work. J.A. Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, while he struck out two Braves. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and three walks. Clay Condrey received the win as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the one man he would face. His record for 2009 is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as he held the lead. Brad Lidge recorded his first save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out one. Javier Vazquez also received a no-decision, as he pitched six innings for the Braves, giving up just three runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out five batters. Eric O’Flaherty followed him, pitching only a third of an inning, as he gave up two runs on one hit. Peter Moylan pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. Blaine Boyer took the lost as he faced only two batters, with both of them scoring, as he gave up two runs on no hits and two walks. Jorge Campillo blew the save, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, in two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Bennett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had eleven hits in the game, with Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Feliz each getting two hits. Howard, Ruiz and Coste had the other three hits. Ibanez knocked in three runs, Utley brought home two, while Feliz, Stairs, Coste, Rollins, Victorino, Howard and Bruntlett each knocked in a run, with Bruntlett’s coming in on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies collected five extra-base hits in the game, three doubles (Howard, Utley and Feliz), a triple (Victorino) and a home run (Ibanez). After three games, Utley leads the team in hitting with a .364 batting average, followed by Ruiz with a pleasently surprising .333 average.

The Phils (1-2) are off today. Their next game will be on the road against the Colorado Rockies (2-1) in Denver, Colorado, at Coors Field. The game will start at 2:10 pm Mountain Time tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace, Cole Hamels, who ended 2008 with a record of 14-10 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.09 in the regular season. His record for this season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Rockies will oppose him with Jason Marquis, who last season had a record of 11-9 for the Chicago Cubs, with an ERA of 4.53 in 29 games (28 of which were starts). His record for this season is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to even their season record tomorrow.

Phils have now dropped two in a row as the bats are unable to knock in a run as they lose to the Braves, 4-0.

The Phillies have lost their second straight game in the young season as the bats resurrect a major problem from last season, the inability to knock in runs after putting men in scoring position.

Jamie Moyer, starting the game for the Phils, ran into trouble early, as Braves’  lead-off man Kelly Johnson, hammers his first pitch, a cutter, into the right field seats, for his first home run of the season, giving Atlanta a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Chipper Jones, who had earlier reached second on a double with one man out, scored from second base on a Chase Utley fielding error of a Brian McCann grounder, making it 2-0 Braves. The Braves added a run in the fourth inning, as, with runners on first and third, with two outs, Kelly Johnson singled in Jeff Francoeur, who had earlier singled and had reached third on an infield single by Casey Kotchman that Jimmy Rollins was unable to make a play on, increasing Atlanta’s lead to 3-0. The next batter, Yunel Escobar, followed with a single to left, but a strong throw from Raul Ibanez to home plate would cut down Kotchman, as Carlos Ruiz successfully blocked home plate before supplying the tag, for the inning’s final out. Then in the fifth, Jones knocked in the Braves’ final run of the evening as he hit Moyer’s first pitch, another cutter, deep into left field for his first home run of the year, and the Braves’ fifth homer of the young season. The Phillies’ bullpen then took over in the sixth, and, like it did on Sunday night, it would shut down the Braves’ offense for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the Phillies were not having any luck with either Jair Jurrjens or the Braves’ bullpen. Although they would get a few men into scoring position, they would be unable to get the key hit that they needed to bring them home as they ended up being six-hit by Atlanta.

Jamie Moyer took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with an ERA of 7.20. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning of relief, giving up no hits. Jack Taschner followed him, pitching two straight 1-2-3 innings. Clay Condrey also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with two strike outs, as the bullpen has so far pitched seven shut out innings, giving up no hits or walks. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win for the Braves, as he went five and two-thirds shut out innings, scattering four hits, along with three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Jeff Bennett then followed him in relief, giving up a hit to the only batter that he would face. Eric O’Flaherty then came in and pitched an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up a hit. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez then came in to each pitch a scoreless inning, with Soriano striking out a batter.

Among the Phillies batters, Utley and Ryan Howard would each get two hits in the game, all singles. Ibanez and Ruiz had the Phils other two hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, the Phils only extra-base hit of the night. The Phils also had four walks, But, they were unable to knock in any runs, as they left eleven men on base, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, a major problem for the team last season.

The Phillies (0-2) will conclude their short three-game home stand with the Braves (2-0) later this afternoon, as the Phillies receive their World Series rings. The game will begin at 3:05 pm Eastern time at Citizens Bank Park, with the ring ceremony to be performed at 2:15 pm. Starting for the Phillies will be Joe Blanton, who last year went 4-0 for the Phils (9-12 overall) with a 4.20 ERA. His record for the 2009 season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. His opponent will be Javier Vazquez, who in 2008 went 12-16 for the Chicago White Sox with a 4.67 ERA. This season his record is presenty 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phils will be looking to salvage a win at home before they go on the road for their first road trip of the young season, meeting the Rockies in Colorado for three weekend games and then going on to Washington, D.C. to face the Nationals for three games at the start of next week.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 4: Brett Myers has second straight bad outing as the Phillies lose to the Braves, 10-4. Mets lost drops Phillies’ magic number to 3.

For his second straight start, Brett Myers will be unable to get through the fifth inning as the Braves would bust the game wide open on a Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run in a six run fifth, as the Phillies fall to the Braves, 10-4. A Mets lost to the Cubs in extra-innings still leaves the Phillies ahead in the East by a game and a half while the magic number to clinch the East drops down to three. The Braves would score first in the first inning as, with two men on and no one out, Martin Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Anderson, who has earlier doubled, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while sending Kelly Johnson, who has earlier singled, to move on to second base. One out later, after Johnson has stolen third, as Brain McCann strikes out, to put runners on the corners, Casey Kotchman would make it 2-0 Braves, as he would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, and sending Prado to third. Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would finally get out of the inning by getting Omar Infante to hit into a double play, 1-6-3, cutting down Kotchman at second. The Phillies would get a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled and has went to third on Shane Victorino’s ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Johnson, who would then commit a fielding error that would allow Victorino to reach base, making it 2-1 Braves, while Victorino would go to second. Chris Coste would then end the inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, cutting down Feliz at second. The Braves would make it 3-1 in the third, as, with a runner on third and one out, Kotchman would hit into an out to Ryan Howard, for the second out of the inning, scoring McCann, who has earlier doubled, and has gone to third as Jayson Werth threw out Prado, who has earlier singled, when he tried to score on McCann’s double, with Coste supplying the tag, for the inning’s first out. The Phillies would get it back in their half of the third, when, with two outs, Chase Utley would hit a solo home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2 Braves. The Phillies would tie it up in the fourth as Howard would hit a lead off home run, his forty-seventh home run of the year. Burrell would then follow with a double. After a Victorino fly out to right would move Burrell to third, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would come out and relieve Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would then proceed to strand Burrell at third as he first get Feliz to strike out for the inning’s second out and then get Coste to end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Braves would then retake the lead in the fifth. After getting the lead-off batter to fly out, Myers would give up a walk to Prado. McCann would follow with a RBI double, scoring Prado, and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. After Myers intentionally walk Kotchman, Charlie Manuel would take out Myers and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would get the next batter, Infante, to hit a grounder to Howard. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Howard would throw to second, trying to force out Kotchman. Sadly, the plan backfired as the ball hit Kotchman and would go into right field, allowing McCann to score, making it a 5-3 Braves’ lead, with Kotchman safe at second and Infante on first thanks to Howard’s throwing error. This would become important as Durbin would strike out Jeff Francoeur for the inning’s second out, as it could’ve been the inning’s final out if Howard had gone to first and not second, leaving the Phillies’ trailing by one run. The next batter, Brandon Jones would then hit a RBI single, scoring Kotchman, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead and putting Infante on second. Chipper Jones is then sent out to pitch hit for Carlyle. Durbin is then replaced with Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies hope would be able to handle C. Jones. Sadly, he would not as C. Jones would hit a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, knocking in both Infante and B. Jones, and giving the Braves a 9-3 lead. Eyre would then end the inning by striking out Anderson. That six run fifth inning would seem to take the fight out of the Phillies, as they would be unable to mount anything against the Braves’ relievers. The Braves, in the meantime, would tack on an extra run in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, who has earlier walked, and has stolen second, to give the Braves a 10-3 lead, The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the eighth, as, with runners on second and third, and one out, Burrell, who has earlier walked, would score on McCann’s pass ball, making it a 10-4 Braves’ lead, and sending Victorino, who has earlier double, to move to third. But that was where he would stay as Braves’ reliever Julian Taveraz would strike out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs for the inning’s second out and then strikes out pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the inning. The Phillies would then go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame.

Brett Myers would take the lost as he would only be able to go four and one third innings, giving up six run, four of which were earned, on ten hits. His record is now 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, on one hit while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch and inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jo-Jo Reyes would get a no decision, as he pitches three and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Buddy Carlyle would get the win as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Vladimir Nunez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Jorge Julio would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Julian Taveraz would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk. Manny Acosta would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Phillies’ offense has once again gone silent for most of the night, being unable to do any real damage on Jo-Jo Reyes before he got yanked in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then being kept quiet for most of the night by the Braves’ bullpen. Of course, Brett Myers being unable to put down the Braves earlier in the night didn’t help matters and Ryan Howard’s fielding blunder of throwing to second base for the force instead of going to first for the sure out would open up the flood gates that would turn the game into a blow out in the fifth inning thanks to Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run. Sigh, I hate reruns like this. I wonder why this team never make pennant winning easy or fast. Luckily, a Mets’ lost to the Cubs in extra-innings has dropped the Phillies magic number down to three. Anyway, with the day off today they should be able to regroup and forget this series before they meet the Nationals for the final three games of the season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, as a big storm is heading in the direction of both Philadelphia and New York, which could play a factor in both the Phillies-Nationals and the Mets-Marlins series. I guess we’ll see what develops by friday night.

The Phillies are still a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they lost to the Cubs in extra-innings, with one more game to play in their four games series tonight. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and the Brewers are now tied for the lead as the Brew Crew defeated the Pirates, with one more game left in their series. This bring up several interesting scenarios for the start of tomorrow night’s series (Phillies-Nationals, Mets-Marlins, Brewers-Cubs): 1) A Mets lost to the Cubs and a Brewers lost to the Pirates would place the Mets two games behind the Phillies and leaving both teams two games behind the Phillies in the wild card (the best of the four scenarios); 2) A Mets lost and a Brewers victory would put the Mets two games behind the Phillies and a game behind the Brewers in the wild card (the preferred scenario as it would force the Mets to get past two teams); 3) A Mets win and a Brewers lost would put the Mets a game behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Brewers (bad, as it will put the pressure back on the Phillies to try to win two against the pesky Nationals); and 4) both the Mets and the Brewers win, putting the Mets a game behind in the East and both teams a game behind the Phillies in the wild card (very bad as the Phllies will have to worry about both teams). While I prefer scenario number two, I would rather the Phillies would just go out and cream the Nationals and let everything else just sort itself out.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Phillies lose tough one to the Braves as their lead in the East shrinks to a game and a half.

A throwing error by Cole Hamels, the lack of a clutch hit with the bases loaded and a base running error in the sixth would all lead to a hard lose as the Phillies lose a close one to the Braves, 3-2. The Mets’ win against the Cubs cuts the Phils lead in the East down to a game and a half and leaves the magic number for winning the East at four while a Brewers’ win leave the playoff magic number at one.

The Braves took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and one out, Kelly Johnson would hit a RBI single, scoring Martin Prado, who has earlier singled, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would tie up the game in the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled, went to second on Pat Burrell’s walk and would go to third on Shane Victorino’s 4-6-3 double play ball, which wiped out Burrell at second. The Braves would retake the lead in the third as, with runners on first and second and two out, Coel Hamels would have Johnson, who has gotten on base earlier with a single and then would move to second on Omar Infante’s single, picked off as Johnson was trying to steal third. But, Hamels’ throw to Feliz at third would go behind the third baseman and into left field, allowing Johnson to score and make it 2-1 Braves. The Phillies would threaten to even the score in their half of the third as they loaded up the bases with a double (Chase Utley), a throwing error by Johnson (Jayson Werth) and a walk (Howard), with two men out. But Braves’ starter Mike Hampton would end the threat by getting Burrell to pop out to the third baseman. The Braves would increase their lead in the sixth, as, with two outs, Casey Kotchman would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, making it 3-1 Braves. The Phillies would get a run base in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI double, scoring Howard, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 3-2 Braves’ lead. Then Burrell would make a crucial base running blunder as, when Shane Victorino hit a hard ground to Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge, instead of going back to second, as he should’ve done, he would be caught off second and then be run down before finally being tagged out by Johnson, with the play going 6-5-4, with Victorino being safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Later, with Feliz batting, Victorino would try to steal second. He would be thrown out by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann for the inning’s second out as Johnson supplies the tag. Feliz would then end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Burrell base running blunder would seems to take the wind out of the Phillies’ sails for the rest of the night as they would be unable to mount another threat as the game ended up being a win for the Braves.

Cole Hamels would take the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, as he struck out seven. His record is now 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09. Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them, while striking out one (Romero). Mike Hampton would get the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His record is now even at 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA. Will Ohman and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both man giving up no hits while Bennett would walk a batter. Mike Gonzalez would record his fourteenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he walked a batter and struck out one.

The Phillies would get done in by the kind of mistakes that they have been avoiding lately, namely a throwing error by Cole Hamels when he had Kelly Johnson dead to rights when Johnson was trying to steal third, being unable to get the clutch hit when they needed it after they had loaded up the bases and Pat Burrell’s base running blunder with no one out. With Hamels’ errant throw, even with his throwing behind Pedro Feliz, if the throw has gone into Feliz’s glove, and Johnson has been safe at third, the Braves would have been turned back as Hamels then struck out Casey Kotchman to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 1-1. This might have been the turning point of the game, as the Phillies, in the later half of the inning, would mount a bases loaded threat that would be turned back because of a pop up into foul territory by Pat Burrell that was caught by Braves’ third baseman Martin Prado. But what really killed the Phillies was Burrell’s later base running blunder in the sixth. With the play in front of him, he should’ve went back to second when Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge caught Shane Victorino’s hard ground ball. Instead, he allowed himself to get trapped between second and third, and then compounded things by not staying in the base paths long enough to allow Victornio to get to second base. An added insult would be Braves’ catcher Brian McCann throwing out Victorino when Victorino tried to steal second. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to bounce back from the lost and win tonight’s game with the Braves.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the final game of their three games home stand with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46), who is coming off his worst outing since his return from the minors, as he lost to the Marlins on September 20, where he only went four innings plus five batters, giving up ten earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 14-8 lost. Myers should be able to come back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, where he pitched a complete game shut out, after his lost to the Marlins on September 10. The lost makes Myers 7-3 since his return. He will be trying for his eleventh win overall while getting the Phillies a bit closer to the playoff with four games left to play. The Braves will oppose him with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on September 19, where he only lasted three and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 lost. Against the Phillies this year, he has appeared in three games, two of them starts, where his record is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA, hoping that he won’t get bombed again by the Phillies’ bats as he starts against them.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead over the Mets down to a game and a half as the Mets defeated the Cubs. The magic number for the Division crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead is still a game over the Brewers as they defeated the Pirates, while their lead over the Astros is now four and a half as they lost to the Reds. The Phillies will be trying to recover from last night’s lost, hoping for another good outing from Myers while hoping to once again sting Reyes and send the Braves packing with another lost.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 6: The magic number into the playoffs is now one as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 6-2.

Behind Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning and the solid pitching of rookie J.A. Happ and the bullpen, the Phillies have defeated the Braves, 6-2, cutting their magic number to get into the post-season down to one and to win the National League East down to four. Their lead in the East has increased to two and a half games as the Mets are unable to stop the Cubs. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Chase Utley, with a runner on second and no one out, would hit a RBI double, knocking in Jimmy Rollins who has earlier doubled. The RBI would be the 100th of the season for Utley, the only Phil, other than Ryan Howard, to knock in so many runs. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the second, as, with a runner on third and one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit into a ground out, second to first, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move up to second on Pedro Feliz’s ground out, 6-3, and would go to third on Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens’ wild pitch. The score would remain 2-0 for the next three innings as a pitchers’ duel developed between Jurrjens, who was able to slow down the Phillies’ offernse after the second inning and Phils’ starter  J.A. Happ, who would be almost unhitable to the Braves’ offense, who would only be able to get two hits and a walk off of him through the first five innings. Sadly, that would come to an end in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Kelly Johnson, would tie up the ballgame at 2-2 as he would slug an 0-1 slider, that was high in the strike zone, into the right field seats, scoring Matin Prado, who has earlier walked. One inning later, the Braves would threaten to take the lead, as with one out, Brent Lillibridge would get on base with a single to left. Jurrjens would then move him over to second with a sacrifice bunt, for the inning’s second out. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Happ and replace him with Rudy Seanez, to face pinch hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch hitting for the originally announced pinch hitter, Yunel Escobar, who in turned was to pinch hit for Josh Anderson. Seanez would proceed to intentionally walk Norton, putting runners on first and second. Seanez would then get the next batter, Prado, to hit into a force out, 6-4, putting out Norton at second, for the final out of the inning. The Braves would then try again in the eighth, as Johnson would lead off the inning with a double, and then would go to third on Victorino’s fielding error. Seanez would then get Omar Infante to line out to Rollins for the inning’s first out. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, would then hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to Rollins, who would quickly throw home, cutting down Johnson, as Ruiz blocks the plate and tags him out, for the second out of the inning, while Francoeur would be safe on first. After Manuel takes out Seanez and replaces him with Scott Eyre, Eyre would get Casey Kotchman to fly out to left for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would get a pinch single off of Braves’ reliever Jeff Bennett. After Dobbs is replaced at first base by pinch runner Greg Golson, the Braves would try to pick Golson off at first. It didn’t work as Bennett would commit a throwing error, as the ball would get past Braves’ first baseman Kotchman, which would allow Golson to go from first to third. After Rollins would ground out for the inning’s first out, Utley would be intentionally walked, bringing up Jayson Werth. Werth would hit a sharp grounder to Braves’ third baseman Prado, who would then throw home in an attempt to cut down Golson. It wouldn’t work, as Golson was off on the crack of the bat, beating Braves’ catcher Clint Sammons’ tag, and scoring the go ahead run as the Phillies took a 3-2 lead, while Utley would go on to second and Werth would reach first on the fielder’s choice. Bobby Cox would then come to the mound and replace Bennett with Will Ohman. After Howard flies out for the second out of the inning, Ohman would be replaced by Julian Tavarez to pitch to Pat Burrell. With the count going to 3-1, Burrell would hit a Tavarez’s fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, scoring both Utley and Werth, and giving the Phillies a 6-2 lead. After Victorino follows with a triple, Tavarez would finally end the inning by getting Feliz to fly out to left. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Ryan Madson. After Madson gets pinch hitter Ruben Gotay to fly out for the inning’s first out, he would give up a pinch single to pinch hitter Chipper Jones. Pinch hitter Brian McCann would then follow him with a deep fly ball to left that would go out of the park, but would be declared a double by the third base umpire Chad Fairchild who would claim that the ball has landed under the yellow line, making it a double and not a home run. A later umpires’ conference would uphold Fairchild’s call, as does instant reply, thus leaving the Braves with runners on second and third with one out and not a two-run homer for McCann. Madson would then buckle down and get Gregor Blanco to fly out to left for the second out of the inning, and then get Prado to ground out, 4-3, to end the game and preserve the win.

J.A. Happ would get a no-decision as he pitches a strong six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, striking out five while walking only two. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up only one hit and walking a batter. Scott Eyre would get the win as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. His record is now 5-0 (3-0 with the Phils) with an ERA of 4.30. Ryan Madson would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits. Jair Jurrjens would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk. Jeff Bennett would get the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on a hit and a walk. His record is now 3-7 with an ERA of 3.86. Will Ohman would also pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Julian Tavarez would also go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.  

The Phillies would score two early runs, which J.A. Happ would hold onto brillantly until he gives up the two-run home run to Kelly Johnson in the sixth. The Phillies offense would then go back to work in the bottom of the eighth, scoring four unanswered runs, with the big blow being Pat Burrell’s three-run shot. The go ahead run that Greg Golson would score on the crack of the bat, would be his first run scored in a major league game. The bullpen would then come in and pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, although Madson almost gave up a two-run home run to pinch hitter Brian McCann, except that the ball would drop into the seats below the yellow line under the railing in left, as confirmed later by instant replay. The Phillies are now on a roll, having won ten of their last eleven games, as they reached a season high twenty-one games over .500, the highest since their pennant winning year of 1993. The Phillies are now one game away from 90 wins, and need just one more game to guarantee a return to the playoffs.

The Phillies (89-68) will continue their series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against the Braves on September 18, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure the playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This is his third start against the Phillies, sporting an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies running into the playoff for one more night.

The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, thanks to the Mets lost to the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers were idle last night, while it is at three and a half games over Houston, who were also idle last night. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.

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.

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