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September 5 2007

Consensus may be that the Phillies are in good position to make a run at the post-season and their pitching just won't allow it, but you wouldn't have known from watching last night's game.  The Phils got a win on a night that the pitching was better than fine and the offense scuffled.  Kyle Lohse bounced back from a weak start against the Mets to give the Phils 6 2/3 strong innings and the bullpen allowed just one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless frames.

The offense, meanwhile, couldn't get the big hit the Phils needed and missed opportunities in the first, second, third or fifth.  They got enough, though, getting a two-run shot from Howard and a solo homer from Ruiz.

The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 5-2 to improve to 73-65 on the year.  They win for the first time in four games and stay in second place in the NL East, five games behind the Mets.  They are three games back in the Wild Card, trailing the Padres and Diamondbacks who are tied for the lead in the NL West.  They are tied with the Dodgers in the Wild Card hunt and just one game ahead of the Rockies.  Big game for the Phils this afternoon as they try to beat Tim Hudson to take two games of the three-game set.

Lohse got the start for the Phillies and allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings.  He gave up eight hits, seven singles and a solo home run.  He walked one and struck out five.

Lohse threw a 1-2-3 first.

In the second, he struck out Mark Teixeira to start the inning before Brian McCann singled to center.  Lohse got the next two to set the Braves down.

Yunel Escobar started the third with a high fly ball to right.  Werth made a long run and had the ball go off his glove for a two-base error.  Rare mistake in the field for Werth, who has been really good out there.  Escobar should have been on third.  The pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes tried to bunt but missed the pitch that made the count 0-2.  Ruiz made a strong throw to second and Escobar was picked off for the first out of the inning.  Reyes struck out for the second and Willie Harris grounded to second to end the inning.

Chipper Jones homered with one out in the fourth, cutting the Phillies' lead to 3-1.  Lohse struck Teixeira out for the second out, but McCann followed with a single to center.  Jeff Francoeur grounded to third to set the Braves down.

Andruw Jones and Escobar started the fifth with back-to-back singles.  It put men on first and second with nobody for Scott Thorman, who pinch-hit for the pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes.  Thorman singled to right, loading the bases.  Lohse got Harris to pop to second for the first out and Kelly Johnson to pop to third for the second out.  He walked Chipper, forcing in a run to make it 4-2, but got Teixeira on a ball smashed to second to end the inning.   Nicely done by Lohse to give up just a run after the Braves loaded the bases with nobody out.

Andruw singled with two outs in the sixth, but Lohse struck out Escobar to end the inning.

Lohse got the first two in the seventh before Johnson singled to right.  Romero came in to pitch to the switch-hitter Chipper.  Romero got Chipper on a ground ball back to the pitcher for the third out.

Gordon shut the Braves down with a 1-2-3 eighth, getting Teixeira, McCann and Francoeur.  Nice job by Gordon against good hitters in a two-run game.

Gordon pitches on back-to-back days again, after pitching both Wednesday and Thursday last week against the Mets.  Before Thursday, Gordon had not pitched on back-to-back days since April 19 and 20. 

Myers pitched the ninth with a three-run lead, giving up a leadoff single to Andruw Jones but getting the next three to earn his 14th save and drop his ERA to 4.70 on the year. 

The Phillies' lineup against righty Buddy Carlyle went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Ruiz.  Victorino stays on the bench.  Dobbs at third against the righty.  Ruiz catches.

With two outs in the first, Burrell walked and Howard followed with a two-run blast out to center that put the Phils up 2-0.  Rowand followed with a double to left and Dobbs walked, but Werth struck out to end the frame.

Ruiz started the second with a home run that put the Phils up 3-0.  Lohse popped to first for the first out before Rollins doubled to right.  Chase Utley was walked intentionally to put men on first and second for Burrell, but Burrell popped to short for the second out.  Howard drew a walk to load the bases, but Rowand struck out to turn the Phillies away. 

In the third, Dobbs led off with a walk and Werth followed with a single that put men on first and second for Ruiz.  Ruiz flew to right and Dobbs went to third.  Lohse bunted Werth to second, but Rollins flew to center to end the inning.  Phils get nothing out of first and second with nobody out.

Burrell walked with one out in the fourth, but Howard followed and hit into a double-play.

Rowand started the fifth with a single.  With lefty Jo-Jo Reyes on the mound, Helms hit for Dobbs and doubled to left.  Rowand went to third.  Werth was walked intentionally, loading the bases for Ruiz.  Ruiz hit a fly ball to center deep enough to score Rowand and put the Phils up 4-1.  Helms went to third on the fly ball and Lohse bunted Werth to second for the second out.  Rollins grounded to second for the third out.  Phils get one run out of bases loaded and nobody out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth and again in the seventh.

Rollins walked with two outs in the eighth, but Utley grounded to second behind him.

Roberson, who had entered in right in the bottom of the eighth, started the ninth with a walk.  Howard followed with a walk and Rowand singled to left.  Roberson scored to put the Phils up 5-2 and Howard went to second.  Nunez showed bunt and then swung away, hitting into a double-play that moved Howard to third with two outs.  Werth popped to short to end the frame.

Rollins was 1-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Utley was 0-for-4 with a walk. 

Burrell was 0-for-2 and walked twice.  He's 1-for-14 with a single in August.

Howard was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer and two walks. 

Rowand was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

Dobbs was 0-for-0 with two walks. He hasn't walked more than five times in a month this season -- in the first four days of September he has four walks.

Werth was 1-for-4 with a walk.

Ruiz was 1-for-3 with a home run, his fifth of the season, and two RBI.

Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 3.79) faces righty Tim Hudson (15-7, 3.32) this afternoon.  Kendrick is 3-0 in his last three starts and has allowed seven earned runs in 19 2/3 innings in those three outings (3.20 ERA).  He's been better at Citizens Bank Park than away from it.  In six starts away from home he's 2-3 with a 4.62 ERA.  He hasn't faced the Braves.  Over his last two starts, Hudson has allowed nine earned runs in 11 innings.  On the year he's allowed just seven home runs in 189 2/3 innings.  In three starts against the Phillies this season he's 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA.   He faced the Phils on April 4, April 30 and May 25.

Charlie Manuel says we might not see Hamels again this season and Hamels says he wouldn't be on the DL if the Phillies had a chiropractor in this article.

The Phils claimed catcher Pete Laforest off of waivers from San Diego.   He will join the team today.  Pierre-Luc (really!) is 29-years-old and hits left-handed.  He was 9-for-25 with a home run for the Padres this season.  In 137 career at-bats he has hit 204/272/292.

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