The Phillies picked up their fourth straight win on Friday night, taking the series opener against the Braves with a 6-2 victory. Starter Kyle Kendrick continued his quality efforts, and the lineup got to Atlanta hurler Tommy Hanson to give Kendrick a nice cushion. The righty pitched 6.2 innings, striking out six and giving up just two runs on five hits. Kendrick has been one of the steadier pitchers for Charlie Manuel over the past two months and he came through again in the crucial late September game.
It wasn't quite the eight-run offensive explosion that the Phils put up against the Mets in the first inning Thursday, but they did get on the board early against Hanson. Juan Pierre cruised into third with a triple and Chase Utley brought him home with a ground ball to the right side that made it 1-0 in the first.
The next three runs off Hanson would come via the long ball, as Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Howard, and Carlos Ruiz all went deep for solo shots. Howard capped last night with a grand slam in the ninth, and this time he sent a Hanson offering to straightaway center. Ruiz and Utley would add their second RBIs of the night to push the lead to four and allow the bullpen to work comfortably.
With the win, the Phillies are now just three games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card. Roy Halladay will take the hill on Saturday and try to extend the streak to five games.