San Diego, CA (Sports Network) – Shane Victorino provided a much-needed offensive spark with two hits and two RBI for the Phillies, who defeated the San Diego Padres, 3-1, in the second of three games at PETCO Park.
Victorino, who tripled and scored a run, also was a defensive presence, throwing a runner out at home to help Philadelphia win the first two games of this series following a four-game losing streak. With the victory, the Phillies crept to within 1 1/2 games of first-place Atlanta while increasing their lead in the wild card to one game over San Francisco.
Joe Blanton (6-6) pitched well to earn the win, allowing one run on six hits and a walk in six innings. Brad Lidge earned his 18th save.
Jon Garland (13-9) was unable to beat Philadelphia yet again, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks in 6 1/3 frames for San Diego, which has dropped three straight but still holds a 5 1/2 game lead over the Giants in the NL West.
Garland, who added an RBI single as the only offense for the Padres, fell to 0-5 in six career starts against the Phillies.
With the game tied, 1-1, entering the seventh, the Phillies forged ahead.
Jayson Werth drew a walk leading off after being down 0-2 in the count, and, two batters later, Victorino drilled a ball toward center that sliced away from outfielder Chris Denorfia for an RBI triple.
The hit spelled the end of Garland’s outing, and Joe Thatcher came in to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz before Luke Gregerson was called upon to pitch to pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney. Sweeney bounced into what looked like a sure double play, but barely beat out the relay to first, allowing Victorino to score for a 3-1 advantage.
The Phillies’ bullpen took over from there.
Jose Contreras threw a perfect seventh inning and was followed by Ryan Madson’s flawless eighth.
Lidge, who balked in the tying run in Friday’s ninth inning, completed the bullpen’s third consecutive perfect inning to polish off the victory.
The offenses, which struggled in the series opener on Friday, continued that trend early on Saturday.
While the Phillies went without a hit for the first four innings, the Padres managed only two baserunners over the same stretch. Philadelphia’s first hit came in the fifth, and it was a timely one that put the visitors ahead.
Werth became Philadelphia’s third baserunner when he was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. Werth advanced to second on a Raul Ibanez groundout, and Victorino sent a grounder up the middle for a single that plated the runner for a 1-0 lead.
The Padres came right back, nearly taking the lead.
Chase Headley drew a leadoff walk and, two batters later, was retired on Denorfia’s fielder’s choice. Nick Hundley kept the inning going with a single that put runners on the corners, and Garland tied the game by lining the first pitch into left for an RBI single.
David Eckstein followed with a single up the middle, but Victorino threw out Hundley at home plate to end the inning.
The Phillies lead the season series, 4-2, and clinched their fourth straight season series win over San Diego…Philadelphia has won 13 of its last 15 games against NL West opponents and six straight at San Diego…The Phillies are 35-23 in games decided by two runs or fewer, the best such record in the majors…Despite the win, Philadelphia has not scored more than three runs in nine of its last 10 games, including six straight…Garland had a three-start win streak snapped…The Phillies have won nine of their last 10 day games.