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Phillies Defeat Braves 5-4 To Take Series Opener

The Phillies hit the Braves early, but needed a comeback in the end en route to a 5-4 win to take the first of a three game series in Atlanta.

Ryan Howard got things started off quick with a mammoth 470 foot, three run homer in the top of the first of Braves’ starter Brandon Beachy. After laboring through two innings, Beachy left the game with what was being called an oblique strain.

The Braves immediately got a run back off Phillies starter Cole Hamels when Chipper Jones knocked in Martin Prado in the bottom half of the first. They would erase the Phils’ lead in the fifth when Hamels surrendered a two run double to relief pitcher Cristhian Martínez. It was arguably the ugliest swing I have ever seen... but it worked. In the bottom of the sixth, Atlanta would seize the lead on a wild pitch. Hamels left the game after six innings, giving up 4 runs on 8 hits and striking out 7.

The Philies mounted their comeback in the 7th when Shane Victorino singled home Jimmy Rollins to tie the game at four. Ryan Howard would lead off the following inning with a double and was brought home when Raul Ibanez narrowly slapped a ground ball between first and second. By all rights, Howard shouldn’t have scored on the play. Right fielder Joe Mather played the ball well and had a decent throw to the plate in time to get Howard, but Brian McCann dropped the ball on the tag and Howard was ruled safe.

After Hamels had left, the bullpen held the lead with the most notable appearance coming from Antonio Bastardo, who came on with the bases loaded and struck out the Braves’ disappointing rookie 1B Freddie Freeman. For his high leverage 1/3 of an inning, Bastardo got the win. Vance Worley pitched a scoreless 8th and Ryan Madson came on in the ninth for his 6th save in 6 chances. Madson lowered his season ERA to 0.56.

The Phillies maintain their lead on top of the NL East and still hold the best record in baseball. Atlanta remains in third, but is tied with the Nationals in the loss column.