This was one you really needed to win. Not just to maintain the lead over the Mets and keep the Phillies from getting back into it, but because the Braves out-hit the Phillies 13-3, 11-2 in regulation. And because Jair Jurrjens pitched so well, but wasn’t going to get a win to show for it, and needed great relief pitching to avoid a loss when Bobby tried to get one more inning out of him.
The Braves loaded the bases in the first, but Troy Glaus hit into a double play, scoring one run but mostly defusing the threat. Jurrjens walked Rollins leading off the game, then gave up a two-run homer to Raul Ibanez. He wouldn’t allow another baserunner until the fifth, or another hit until the seventh. He was just outstanding, keeping the Phillies off-balance and throwing strikes.
In the fourth, Matt Diaz doubled, and David Ross (back in the lineup, like Glaus) singled him home to tie the game. The Prado, as is his wont, came through in the top of the seventh with a solo homer to make it 3-2.
Bobby sent Jurrjens out to start the seventh instead of trying Venters or O’Flaherty (with Ibanez and Howard due up). I can’t really fault him for that, but after Jurrjens walked Chavez, he probably should have had one of them ready for Howard. He stayed with Jurrjens, and it almost cost the Braves the game, as Howard hit a ball that just stayed in the park, bouncing off the left field fence for a triple when Diaz lost the ball.
Moylan came in and got Jayson Werth to strike out, and Venters got a shallow pop fly and a groundout to hold keep Howard from scoring. Chipper had an infield single leading off the eighth, followed by a single in the gap that didn’t quite split the outfielders by Glaus. (Hicks ran for him.) But Yunel tried to do something he couldn’t with an inside pitch and grounded right to third, and Chipper was a dead duck; Diaz popped out; and McCann, hitting for Ross, was faced with a LOOGY and grounded out after a long AB.
Saito had no problems in the eighth, but the Braves couldn’t do anything against Brad Lidge, and everybody hits Lidge. O’Flaherty got the lefties in the ninth, but the Braves couldn’t do anything in the tenth and Bobby came with the Human White Flag. Somehow, what looked like Werth’s walkoff homer stayed in the park to be caught by Blanco, and after a walk and a groundout to advance the runner, a line drive was right at Diaz. Chavez is just terrible, but he somehow didn’t allow a run.
Yunel singled to lead off the tenth. Diaz bunted foul on his first pitch, then they took off the bunt sign and went hit-and-run. Good decision. Diaz hit a rocket over second base that went for a double, and Yunel scored from first. The Philles tried to control the damage with another LOOGY, who got McCann and Blanco, but Eric Hinske, who entered the game for Glaus, and who just doesn’t hit lefties, hit one into the seats to make it 6-3. Wagner allowed an infield single to the Loathsome Victorino with two outs in the eleventh, but struck out Ibanez to end it. Whew.