(Sports Network) - Atlanta's Troy Glaus has gotten his digs in on a struggling Phillies squad and will try to help his team to a three-game sweep of the two- time defending National League champions this afternoon at Turner Field.
Glaus has a hit in every game of the Braves' current seven-game winning streak, including both installments in this series, and has homered in the last three contests. The veteran infielder owns 13 RBI during the streak and set the tone in Tuesday's 7-3 victory with a three-run homer off Cole Hamels in a rain-soaked first inning.
"You have to keep your focus," Glaus said about hitting in the rain. "It's not the easiest conditions in the world to hit in."
Yunel Escobar had two hits and an RBI and starter Tim Hudson held the Phillies in check for his sixth win of the season, as he tossed six innings of two-run ball. Eric O`Flaherty and Takashi Saito each threw a scoreless inning of relief before Jonny Venters gave up a run in the ninth. Billy Wagner got the final out for his eighth save.
The Braves pushed their lead atop the NL East standings to 1 1/2 games ahead of Philadelphia, while Florida and New York are 3 1/2 games back. Washington is last in the division at 4 1/2 games off the pace.
Since snapping a nine-game losing streak on April 30, the Braves, who were 6 1/2 games out of first place at one point, have won 22 of their last 30 games and are a season-best eight games over the .500 mark. They will kick off a lengthy 11-game road trip tomorrow with a four-game series in Los Angeles, followed by a four-game set in Arizona. Atlanta will then visit Minnesota for three games to close out the road swing.
Before hitting the road, Derek Lowe hopes to keep his winning streak intact when he toes the rubber for the Braves this afternoon. Lowe has won two straight and four of his last six starts, including a seven-inning performance the last time out on Friday in a 7-3 triumph over Pittsburgh.
Lowe held the Pirates to one run and four hits to improve to 7-4 in 11 starts and lower his earned run average to 4.86. Lowe, who is 4-2 in six home starts, will face the Phillies for the third time this season and is 0-2 with a 9.90 earned run average against them in 2010. In a 7-0 loss at Citizens Bank Park on May 7, Lowe was rocked for all seven runs and 11 hits in five innings.
The right-hander, though, is 6-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 16 career matchups (12 starts) with the Phillies.
Philadelphia continued to grind the gears and lost for the eighth time in 10 tries last night. Its suddenly-slumping offense was able to produce three runs on Tuesday and Ryan Howard ended a seven-game homerless drought with a two-run shot in the sixth inning.
Wilson Valdez contributed two hits and an RBI in defeat and Hamels was dealt the loss for giving up Glaus' homer in the first inning. Hamels never returned after a rain delay and lasted just two-thirds of an inning. It was enough time to allow a pair of walks, two hits and the decisive blast.
"It's the hard part of baseball," Hamels told the team's site. "You just have to accept it and move on."
Jayson Werth snapped a 0-for-21 slump with a double in the eighth inning for the Phillies, who have scored 13 runs in their last 10 games and are 2-6 on a nine-game road trip. Philadelphia will head home after this set in Dixie to open a seven-game residency versus San Diego and Florida.
Taking the ball for the Phils today will be Kyle Kendrick, who has come on as of late to the tune of a 3-1 mark and a 3.13 ERA in his last five starts. Kendrick hopes to inject some life back into his team and won his most recent stint last Friday in a 3-2 win at Florida, allowing two unearned runs and five hits in six innings.
Kendrick bounced back from a rough start versus Boston on May 22, when he was reached for five runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. The right-hander and former draft pick of the Phillies in 2003 has pitched well in his career against Atlanta, going 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA in eight career games (7 starts).
The skinny righty did not record a decision in a 4-3 loss at Atlanta on April 20 this season, as he delivered eight shutout innings of four-hit ball.
Philadelphia and Atlanta have split eight matchups this season, but the Phillies have won 10 of the past 17 games between the teams.