Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Raul Ibanez hit the game-winning home run with one down in the bottom of the 10th, sending Philadelphia past Atlanta, 3-2, in the opener of a crucial three-game series.
After Ryan Howard was retired on a liner to Braves center fielder Jordan Schafer, Ibanez uncorked a 2-0 pitch from Scott Proctor (1-3) deep into the right-field seats.
“It’s definitely a good feeling. You don’t try to do that, try to do too much in that situation. But you do try to get a good pitch to hit and drive it,” Ibanez said about his approach at the plate. “When that happens, there’s no better feeling as a player.”
Juan Perez (1-0) struck out the side in the top of the 10th on nine pitches to claim his first major-league victory. He became the first Phils hurler to accomplish the feat since Andy Ashby in 1991.
Carlos Ruiz hit a solo homer and Wilson Valdez knocked in the other run for the Phillies, who opened up a 3 1/2 game lead over Atlanta in the NL East with their seventh win in 10 outings.
The victory was the 600th in Philadelphia for Charlie Manuel, as he became just the third man to reach the plateau. Only Gene Mauch (646, 1960-68) and Harry Wright (636, 1884-1893) have more wins in club history.
Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla each recorded an RBI single for the Braves, whose four-game win streak came to a halt.
Philly starter Roy Halladay and Atlanta hurler Brandon Beachy shook off a rain delay which pushed back the start of the game by almost two hours. The former lasted seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs with seven strikeouts, while the latter worked six full frames and yielded eight hits and two runs while fanning six.
Atlanta picked up a run in the second as Chipper Jones singled, advanced on a passed ball and scored on a Freeman base hit. Philly responded in the home half as Ibanez singled, advanced on a balk, went to third on a base hit by Ruiz and scored on a Valdez sacrifice fly.
Brian McCann singled to start the fourth and came in on a one-out base hit from Uggla, then Ruiz hit a one-out solo shot in the home half to even the score at 2-2.
The Braves stranded a runner on third in the seventh, as Halladay completed his performance by inducing a flyout from pinch-hitter Eric Hinske. The Phils had runners on first and second with one out in the eighth, but couldn’t produce a run against Jonny Venters.
“Their bullpen was really really good,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. “They gave them a chance to do what they did…bring the big boys up late in the game.”
For Ibanez, it was his sixth career walk-off home run…Philadelphia improved to 4-5 in extra-inning games, and Atlanta fell to 9-8…Michael Stutes, Antonio Bastardo and Perez combined to hold the Braves off the basepaths over the final three innings…Prior to the game, the Phillies placed outfielder Shane Victorino on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right thumb and recalled infielder Pete Orr from Triple-A Lehigh Valley…Victorino had been one of the two fan selections to the All-Star Game next Tuesday, but he will not play in the game.