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Preview: Phillies Take On Braves In Rubber Game

(Sports Network) – The last time Philadelphia’s Jamie Moyer faced Atlanta, he made history. The way things have gone for his club this season, he’ll settle for a series victory tonight.

The Phillies will try to do just that with their veteran on the hill as they wrap a three-game series versus the National League East-leading Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Moyer has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts and was even better when he last faced the Braves on May 7. On that day in Philadelphia, the left-hander hurled a two-hit shutout at the age of 47 years and 170 days to become the oldest player in league history to post a shutout. He has beaten Atlanta twice this year, allowing just two unearned runs in 15 innings.

“There’s no ands, ifs or buts about it,” Atlanta’s Chipper Jones told his club’s website after that May 7 loss. “We didn’t really barrel much hard. The guy is 87 years old and he’s still pitching for a reason. He stays off of people’s barrels. That’s what he did. … That’s about as well-pitched of a game by a guy who throws 80 mph that I’ve ever seen.”

Moyer is 9-7 with a 4.13 ERA this year and 5-2 with a 2.94 ERA in seven home starts. He had won three straight starts before coming out on the wrong end of a 2-0 setback to the Pirates on Friday, yielding two runs — one earned — on five hits over six innings. He also fanned a season-high eight hitters.

The Braves counter with youth in 24-year-old Kris Medlen, who is 4-0 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 starts this season in addition to a 2.41 ERA in 13 relief outings. He has allowed just two runs over his last two starts, besting the Tigers on June 25 before getting a no-decision against the Marlins on Friday. Medlen hurled 6 1/3 innings versus Florida, working around a run on six hits with five strikeouts.

The right-hander faced the Phillies seven times in relief before making a start against them on May 8. He allowed a run on nine hits over 4 1/3 innings of a no-decision.

Medlen will try to hurl Atlanta to its second straight win and fifth in seven games after it posted a 6-3 extra-inning victory last night. Matt Diaz doubled home the go-ahead run in the 11th inning and Eric Hinske added a two-run homer to cap the frame.

“It was a fantastic 24-man effort — we used every player except one,” joked Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. “Our bullpen was fantastic.”

The victory allowed the Braves to maintain their two-game edge over the Mets for first place in the division, while the Phillies fell five games off the pace.

Diaz ended with three hits, which is exactly how many the Phillies had in the entire game. One was a two-run homer by Raul Ibanez, who later scored a tying run in the seventh inning on Ryan Howard’s triple.

Philadelphia, which has lost four of its last six, has now lost five of its last seven versus Atlanta.