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Roy Oswalt combined with Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge for a one hitter as the Philadelphia Phillies swept the Atlanta Braves to all but lock up the NL East.
Pitching ruled in this one as the Phillies only managed two hits off Braves' starter Tommy Hanson, but with Hanson out of the game in the 8th Raul Ibanez hit a 2-out RBI double to score Jayson Werth (who walked 3 times tonight) for the game's only run.
Oswalt struck out 8 and walked just one and still remains undefeated at Citizens Bank Park this season.
The Phillies have a day off before hosting the Mets for a weekend series.
(Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies were able to line up their rotation prior to this three-game set with the Atlanta Braves in the hopes of moving closer to their fourth straight National League East title.
So far, so good.
Looking to win a fifth consecutive start, Roy Oswalt will take the hill this evening for Philadelphia and tries to pitch his club to a sweep of Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park.
Hamels hurled eight innings of one-run ball to win Monday's opener before Halladay become the NL's first 20-game winner thanks to seven solid innings in Tuesday's 5-3 triumph.
Halladay gave up three runs on seven hits to become the first Phillies starter to win 20 games since Steve Carlton in 1982. He also became the first right- hander in team history to reach the mark since Robin Roberts in 1955.
"It's definitely special [to win 20 games], but it's secondary to me with us trying to get into the playoffs," said Halladay. "Finishing these last few weeks strong has been the priority. To be able to pitch in meaningful games at this point in the season makes all the difference."
It looks like Halladay will be pitching some meaningful games come October, as the Phillies have upped their advantage over the second-place Braves to five games with 10 to play. In winning a season-high ninth straight game, Philadelphia lowered its magic number to clinch the division to six.
Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer in the third inning and Raul Ibanez drove in the other two runs for the Phils, who have also won 21 of their last 25 and evened their season series with the Braves at seven games apiece.
The two clubs close out the regular season against each other with three games in Atlanta from Oct. 1-3.
Oswalt will try to help the Phillies record their first sweep of the Braves since they took all three games of a set in Atlanta from Sept. 16-18, 2008.
The former Houston starter is undefeated over his last nine starts since losing his Philadelphia debut on July 30. Oswalt is 7-0 with a 1.55 earned run average since, and he beat Washington on Friday after limiting the Nationals to a run over six innings.
The 33-year-old righty is 13-13 with a 2.90 ERA in 30 total starts this year and will be aiming for his first-ever regular-season victory over the Braves. He is 0-3 with a 7.58 ERA versus them in seven lifetime starts.
Atlanta's Tommy Hanson has had better luck against his opponent. The 24-year- old is 1-0 in two starts against the Phillies this year, giving up just three runs over 11 1/3 total frames.
Hanson won for just the second time in his last 14 starts (2-6) on Friday, besting the Mets after giving up four runs on five hits over six innings. The right-hander did retire 13 of the final 14 batters faced to improve to 2-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four September starts.
Hanson is 10-11 with a 3.62 ERA overall this year and will try to turn in a better outing tonight than Mike Minor did on Tuesday. Minor lasted just 2 1/3 innings and was charged with three runs on seven hits.
"We only got 2 1/3 innings from our starter, and it was hard to work around that," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox.
Atlanta began its current nine-game road trip with a three-game sweep in New York and still leads the NL Wild Card race by one game over San Diego despite losing the first two tests of this series.
Appearing in just his 12th career game, Atlanta's Freddie Freeman connected on the first home run of his career in last night's loss.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Roy Halladay became the first 20-game winner in the National League with seven solid innings while Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer, as the Philadelphia Phillies downed the Atlanta Braves, 5- 3, at Citizens Bank Park.
Halladay (20-10) allowed three runs on seven hits for the red-hot Phillies, who have won nine straight games and increased their lead atop the NL East to five games over the Braves. Raul Ibanez drove in the other two runs for Philadelphia, which now has a magic number of six to clinch the division.
Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run for the Braves, who have dropped the first two of this three-game series on the heels of a three-game win streak.
Braves starting pitcher Mike Minor (3-2) suffered the loss after he lasted only 2 1/3 innings and surrendered three runs on seven hits. Atlanta, though, still leads the wild card standings by 1 1/2 games over San Diego, which is currently in action against the Dodgers.
The Phillies opened the scoring in the bottom of the third inning. Placido Polanco worked a leadoff walk and Chase Utley singled, which brought Ryan Howard to the plate. Howard fouled off several pitches with a full count, but eventually lined out to right field. Werth was next, and he belted a fastball into the seats in left-center field for a 3-0 lead.
Ibanez followed with a double to the corner in left field, and that spelled the end of Minor’s night. Cristhian Martinez replaced Minor on the mound and he struck out two batters to get out of the inning.
Atlanta cut its deficit to 3-1 in the top of the fifth. Alex Gonzalez hit a leadoff double and Rick Ankiel followed with a single to left field. With runners on the corners, pinch-hitter Eric Hinske chopped a grounder to second base for what appeared to be a routine double play. After the out at second, the throw by shortstop Wilson Valdez hit the sliding Ankiel on the hand and ricocheted toward the dugout area as Gonzalez scored on the play.
Halladay settled down and induced a fly out off the bat of Omar Infante and fanned rookie slugger Jason Heyward, who looked at a called third strike.
In the sixth, Martin Prado led off with a base hit and moved to third when Brian McCann smacked a double off the wall in right field. When Derrek Lee flied out to left-center field, Prado successfully tagged-up from third, but McCann surprisingly tried to move to third and was cut down by Shane Victorino’s throw. Nate McLouth grounded back to the mound to end the frame.
With Atlanta reliever Michael Dunn on the hill to start the bottom of the sixth, Howard worked a two-out walk and headed for third on a Werth base hit. Ibanez then ripped an inside fastball down the right-field line and into the corner, paving the way for both Howard and Werth to cross the plate for a 5-2 Philadelphia advantage.
Freeman’s two-out, solo blast in the seventh brought the Braves within two, but Ryan Madson worked around a leadoff single in the eighth — with the help of a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of McCann — and bridged the gap to closer Brad Lidge.
In the top of the ninth, Lidge surrendered a leadoff single to Lee, but fanned McLouth before two straight fly outs ended the contest and earned Lidge his 25th save of the season.
Halladay is the Phillies’ first 20-game winner since Steve Carlton went 23-11 in a Cy Young winning year of 1982. He is the first right-hander to win at least 20 games in a season since Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts in 1955…The Phillies pounded out 12 hits but also stranded 12 baserunners…Halladay threw 103 pitches (64 strikes)…The scheduled pitching matchup for Wednesday’s series finale is set to feature Philly’s Roy Oswalt against Tommy Hanson.
|Final - 9.21.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Roy Halladay (20 - 10)
SV: Brad Lidge (25)
LP: Mike Minor (3 - 2)
The Braves had cut the lead to two with runs in the fifth and sixth (could have been more if not for Shane’s right arm) until a two out walk by Ryan Howard and a laser beam off the left field wall by Jayson Werth put two on for Ibanez off Braves lefty Mike Dunn. Taking some junk for strikes, Raul waited for the pitch he wanted and jerked it into the right field corner, scoring both Howard and Werth.
Halladay has been mediocre thus far, striking out only two in six innings of work. How far he goes into the game will depend on how quickly he can get out of the seventh. But with rested Chad Durbin and Ryan Madson available in the pen, Charlie should feel comfortable pulling Roy after seven with a few runs of cushion for the back end.
Until a complete bomb to left-center, the Phillies had five hits over 2.1 innings and nothing to show for it. With Polanco and Utley on base, Jayson Werth continued his torrid pace, hitting his fourth home run in five games and giving the Phils an early lead for Roy Halladay. This piece of yardwork gave Jayson his 100th run of the season, his career high and the first Phillie to do so this season.
Raul stepped up next and slapped a double to left off the diving glove of scuffling Nate McLouth. This was it for starter Mike Minor, who had been getting knocked around all game. Yesterday’s starter Brian Beachy didn’t make it out of the fifth inning last night, and Bobby Cox will have to dig into his bullpen even earlier tonight. Christhian Martinez enters the ballgame and promptly intentionally walks Carlos Ruiz.
To simplify: More runs = Better chance at Halladay winning his 20th.
(Sports Network) – The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t had a 20-game winner in 28 years. If Roy Halladay can reach the mark this evening, he’ll put his club one step closer to a fourth straight National League East title.
Halladay eyes a fourth straight winning start and Philadelphia goes for a season-best ninth victory in a row in the middle contest of a three-game series versus the second-place Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies and Braves began this key NL East set on Monday with Philadelphia three games up in the race for the division crown. The two-time defending NL champions increased that edge by one with a 3-1 victory, lowering their magic number to clinch the division to eight.
Cole Hamels allowed just a Brian McCann RBI double over eight innings to win his career-best fifth straight start, while Brad Lidge hurled a 1-2-3 ninth with two strikeouts for his 24th save as Philadelphia matched its longest winning streak of the season and won for the 20th time in its last 24 games.
“For us, it’s just another game, another stepping stone,” said Hamels of the Phillies, who became the first NL team to reach 90 wins this year.
Carlos Ruiz, Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez all drove in a run for the Phillies.
With Jair Jurrjens scratched from the start due to a sore right knee, Brandon Beachy made his major-league debut for Atlanta and took the loss, allowing three runs over 4 1/3 innings. Two of those runs were unearned after outfielder Jason Heyward was unable to secure a Shane Victorino liner, leading to a three-base error and eventually a pair of runs for the Phillies.
“The ball went into the wind. It knuckled off the bat,” Heyward said of his approach to the eventual key error. “I got a great jump off the bat. I didn’t want to lollygag it, wanted to get over as quickly as possible. The wind just took it further out of my reach.”
The Braves, who had won five of six over the Phillies heading into the series, had a three-game win streak snapped but still lead the NL Wild Card race by two games over San Diego.
Atlanta will try to avoid falling further behind Philadelphia against Halladay, who is aiming to become the NL’s first 20-game winner this year and the Phils’ first since Steve Carlton in 1982
Though he has won three straight starts, Halladay has given up at least three runs in each of his last five outings, yielding nine homers in that span. He beat Florida on Wednesday, giving up three runs on 10 hits with nine strikeouts over six frames while upping his MLB-leading total to 234 2/3 innings.
“I feel good. Stamina-wise I felt real good. I haven’t gotten tired at the end of games,” said Halladay. “There’s times you feel it’s not April. You feel you don’t have that extra giddy-up sometimes. But I feel as good now as I have at any other year at this point.”
The 33-year-old righty appears to have a great shot at locking down his 20th win against the Braves, who he has already thrown two complete games against this year. He hurled a five-hit shutout on April 21 in Atlanta and a one-run complete game in Philadelphia on July 5.
Lifetime, Halladay is 3-0 with a 0.63 earned run average in four games (three starts) versus the Braves, and is 19-10 with a 2.49 ERA overall this season.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, gets its first-ever look at 22-year-old Mike Minor, who is coming off his first MLB loss that came in his seventh career start.
The Braves left-hander gave up four runs on four hits over five innings of a 4-2 setback to Washington on Wednesday, serving up a grand slam in the second inning. Minor fell to 3-1 with a 5.84 ERA on the season.
Atlanta holds a slim 7-6 edge over Philadelphia in the season series. The two clubs close out the regular season against each other with three games in Atlanta from Oct. 1-3.
Cole Hamels pitched 8 innings of one run ball and Jason Heyward had a costly error as the Phillies beat the Braves to extend their NL East lead to four games.
The key play came in the bottom of the fifth inning when Shane Victorino hit a seemingly innocuous liner to Braves rookie phenom Jason Heyward in right. Heyward misplayed it and the ball bounced off the end of his glove allowing Victorino to reach third base. Placido Polanco would single him home and give the Phillies the lead for good.
Brad Lidge was downright filthy in the 9th striking out two en route to his 24th save. The Phillies have now won 22 of their last 27 against NL East teams.
Tomorrow, the Braves send Mike Minor to the mound to face Roy Halladay. So far, the Phillies "Bermuda Triangle of the National League" us undefeated in the month of September.
|Final - 9.20.2010||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|WP: Cole Hamels (12 - 10)
SV: Brad Lidge (24)
LP: Brandon Beachy (0 - 1)
That doesn't make this series any less important.
First-place Philadelphia will look to match a season-high with an eighth straight victory and pad its three-game advantage over Atlanta, which aims for a fourth consecutive win this evening at Citizens Bank Park.
Looking to get back into the postseason for the first time since 2005 in what is expected to be manager Bobby Cox's final season, the Braves led the NL East by as many as seven games on July 22. However, Atlanta has played close to .500 ball since and finally fell out of the top spot after a loss to the Pirates on Sept. 7.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, has won 19 of its last 23 games, including each of its last seven for its longest win streak since a season-best eight-game run from July 22-29.
But while the Phillies enter this set in first place, it is the Braves who may have the advantage. They have own five of the last six games played between the two clubs and own a 7-5 edge in the season series.
Philly and Atlanta close out the regular season with three games in Atlanta from Oct. 1-3.
"It's a big series," Derrek Lee told Atlanta's website. "Obviously they have great pitching and they have a great offense. But I like our team, too. So I think it's going to be a good series. We'll see what happens."
The Phillies are coming off back-to-back three-game sweeps of Florida and Washington and had to rally in Sunday's finale with the Nationals to keep their win streak intact. Philadelphia entered the ninth inning down by three runs, but cut that deficit to one on Ryan Howard's two-run single before Jayson Werth connected on a walk-off two-run homer for a 7-6 victory.
"It looked like we were dead in the water, then all of a sudden, we had a resurgence," said Philadelphia outfielder Shane Victorino. "That's what this team does so well. We keep playing. We play 27 outs."
The victory helped the Phillies maintain their edge over the Braves, who also won in powerful fashion on Sunday. Lee broke a tie game with a seventh-inning grand slam with two outs, leading Atlanta to a three-game sweep of New York.
It was just Atlanta's second road sweep of the season and it came in the opener of a nine-game road trip. It also gave the Braves a 2 1/2-game edge over the Padres for the NL's Wild Card spot.
Atlanta will be seeking its first four-game winning streak since posting five victories in a row from Aug. 28-Sept. 1, while the Phillies will look to lower their magic number of 10 to claim a fourth straight NL East title.
The pitching edge appears to favor the Phillies tonight.
Philadelphia's Cole Hamels is riding a four-start winning streak and he pitched 22 shutout innings over the first three victories before giving up just a run on five hits over 6 2/3 innings in Florida on Tuesday. The southpaw fanned a season-high 13 in that 2-1 victory and has pitched well in close games this year.
Though the Phils have scored two runs or less in six of Hamels' last eight starts, the 26-year-old has pitched to a 1.62 earned run average in that span.
Hamels is 11-10 with a 3.01 ERA this year and 8-5 with a 4.25 ERA lifetime versus the Braves. He got a no-decision against them on July 6, yielding three runs over seven innings.
Jair Jurrjens countered Hamels that day, also getting a no-decision with six innings of three-run ball, and will do so again tonight. However, the 24-year- old has lost consecutive starts since a four-decision win streak, getting hammered for seven runs and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings versus the Cardinals on Sept. 9 before yielding four runs over five innings of a 6-0 setback to the Nationals on Tuesday.
The right-handed Jurrjens fell to 7-6 with a 4.64 ERA this year and is 3-3 with a 2.56 ERA in nine career starts against Philadelphia.
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