Phillies 5 (91-61), Braves 3 (86-66)
WP: Halladay (20-10)
LP: Minor (3-2)
SV: Lidge (25)
Another game in Philly, another loss. The game was lost when Mike Minor stepped onto the mound and fell behind every hitter he faced. He survived through 2 scoreless innings, but then the third came along, and he allowed a 3 run homer to Jayson Werth...and that was that. The line on Minor? 2 1/3 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 earned, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts, and 1 huge home run. The bullpen had to pick up the load tonight, throwing 5 2/3 innings, and aside from Mike Dunn, everyone pitched really well...unfortunately, Dunn allowed 2 runs in the 6th that would end up being the difference in the game. The magic bubble had to pop for him sooner or later, and tonight was the night. Craig Kimbrel allowed a hit and struck out a batter in a scoreless inning, so that's good.
Tonight was a night of blown opportunities for the offense. 3 double plays, 1 of which came with the pitcher at the plate, one of which came in the 8th inning with a man on and one out, and one of which...shouldn't have happened. Lets flash back to the 6th. The Braves put the first 2 men on to start the inning, after a Martin Prado single and a Brian McCann double. 2nd and 3rd, none out, what can go wrong? Derrek Lee flies out to center, Prado comes in to score, and then McCann inexplicably decides to tag up. Naturally, he's thrown out at third and the inning ends. The Braves had another scoring chance in the 5th, putting men on the corners with none out for Eric Hinske. He grounds into a surefire DP ball, but the ball hits Rick Ankiel on the turn, so a run scores on only one out. Nothing would happen the rest of the inning, but yes...the Braves got their first 2 runs on plays where 3 (should have been 4) outs were made. Not good. The third run came in the 7th, on Freddie Freeman's first career home run. So that's one positive from tonight. Every starter except Nate McLouth had a hit, with Prado and Ankiel reaching twice.
Braves are now 5 out in the east, game and a half up in the wild card with the west coast games just getting underway. They look to avoid the sweep tomorrow, and will start a pitcher who isn't a rookie: Tommy Hanson. The Phillies counter with Roy Oswalt, who is also not a rookie. The Braves need to win this game if they want to have a glimmer of hope at winning the NL East.