Phillies 3 (90-61), Braves 1 (86-65)
WP: Hamels (12-10)
LP: Beachy (0-1)
SV: Lidge (24)
Brandon Beachy...he didn't pitch terrible tonight. He held his own. 4 and a third, 4 hits, 1 earned, 3 walks (2 intentional), and a strikeout...not the best start line at all. But hell, he HELD HIS OWN, and that's all he needed to do. Unfortunately, despite allowing only 1 earned, he allowed 2 unearned runs, thanks to a Jason Heyward error in the 5th that allowed Shane Victorino to go to third base on a relatively routine fly ball. That turned Beachy's night around, and the Braves offense just couldn't pick him up. The final 2 Phillies runs were driven in with ground outs...the first of which, Alex Gonzalez didn't throw home on a play where he could have gotten Victorino at the plate. The world will never know what could have happened there. The final run was driven in on a dribbler where Gonzalez barely threw Raul Ibanez out at first. Ball wasn't hit hard enough for a double play, unfortunately. The bullpen was spotty, but didn't allow any of their own baserunners to score: 4 baserunners and 4 strikeouts in 3 2/3 for Eric O'Flaherty, Peter Moylan, Mike Dunn, and Kyle Farnsworth. But again...didn't matter.
The Braves offense was bad tonight. Only 7 men reached base, and 3 were erased on double plays...all of which came in hugely critical situations. The first, by Martin Prado in the second after a Jason Heyward single. The second by Melky Cabrera (who was inexplicably starting instead of Nate McLouth) in the second, with the Braves having already plated a run with men on the corners. And the third, again by Prado in the 6th after a Heyward walk. All 3 ended innings. All 3 were absolute killers. Heyward and Derrek Lee were the only Braves to reach base multiple times. Prado and Omar Infante combined to go 0/4. The Braves were swinging at bad pitches from Cole Hamels all night. Just not a good night for the offense.
The Padres are idle, so the lead in the wild card race is down to 2 games. The Phillies lead in the east is up to 4. Braves need to win the next 2 games in this season if they want homefield advantage in the playoffs. Tomorrow, the pitching matchup once again favors Philly: Roy Halladay vs Mike Minor. Another Braves rookie being forced to the mound in a key situation. Good god, what happened to all that depth?