Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Alex Gonzalez hit a go-ahead RBI single in the 11th inning and Brian McCann followed with a two-run homer, lifting the Braves to a 4-1 win over the Phillies on Saturday.
Atlanta evened the three-game series at one win apiece and pulled back within 2 1/2 games of Philadelphia for first place in the NL East.
The game was tied 1-1 after nine innings following a duel between starters Tommy Hanson and Cliff Lee.
Lee threw eight strong innings and belted his first career home run after a 10-pitch at-bat in the third inning for Philadelphia’s only run.
Hanson tossed seven innings for Atlanta, which came back from losing Friday’s series opener on Raul Ibanez’s walkoff homer in the bottom of the 10th.
Antonio Bastardo relieved Lee and struck out two Braves in the ninth while Juan Perez, who struck out the side for his first MLB win Friday night, fanned two in the 10th inning of this one.
But the Braves jumped on Michael Stutes (3-1), handing the rookie right-hander his first MLB loss.
Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske walked, and pinch-runner Wilkin Ramirez moved up on Jordan Schafer’s sacrifice bunt. Gonzalez singled to center field to make it 2-1 and McCann launched the eighth pitch of his at-bat, a breaking ball, into the right field seats for his 15th homer of the season.
The runs made a winner out of George Sherrill (2-1), who had escaped a bases- loaded jam in the 10th. Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect 11th to earn his 28th save, extending his record for rookies before the All-Star break.
Lee, who hasn’t earned a win this month after going 5-0 in June, struck out nine batters and allowed three hits and two walks before Bastardo took over for a perfect ninth.
The only extra-base hit given up by Lee was Dan Uggla’s first-pitch homer in the fifth inning, which tied the game at 1-1 for the Braves.
Two innings earlier, Lee fouled off six balls — including five in a row at one point — before knocking Hanson’s 10th pitch over the wall in right-center for his first career home run.
It was the first homer by a Phillies pitcher since Chan Ho Park’s solo blast on April 25, 2009, at Florida.
Hanson gave up just four hits while striking out six and walking one. He carried a five-start winning streak into the game.
After two sparkling outings by the starters, the bullpens took over and continued the pitchers’ duel.
Jonny Venters replaced Hanson and threw a perfect eighth for Atlanta and Eric O’Flaherty tossed a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Phillies loaded the bases against Sherrill in the 10th after the reliever had retired the first two batters. Wilson Valdez and pinch-hitter Michael Martinez both singled, while Jimmy Rollins walked before John Mayberry grounded out to first to end the inning.
The Phillies, who fell to 8-4 in their last 12 games, had just six hits in the game. Lee’s homer and Mayberry’s double in the sixth were the only ones that went for extra bases.
The Braves had just five hits, but improved to 15-4 in their last 19.
The Braves put third baseman Chipper Jones on the 15-day disabled list because of a meniscus tear in his right knee and said he had successful arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage. Jones, who went 2-for-4 in Friday’s game is expected to return in 2-3 weeks…Hanson hasn’t lost since May 27.