Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Phils take series against Atlanta behind Worley, Ibanez

The Phillies secured a series victory over Atlanta on a rain soaked night with a 6-3 victory, moving 9 1/2 games ahead of the Braves in the NL East.

They're the first team to win 90 games this season; and reached 90 victories the fastest in franchise history, five games fewer than in 1977.

The Phils won their 14th straight game in which Vance Worley took the rubber. Worley was very good once again, battling through six innings to improve to 11-1. He allowed two runs on seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts.

Worley, as he typically does, battled out of some tough jams. Leading 2-1 in the sixth, the Braves loaded the bases with no outs. He settled down, and retired the next three batters, allowing just one run to score on a sacrifice fly.

The offense put Worley back on top and in position for the win in the bottom of the sixth. With runners on second and third with no outs, thanks to a Ryan Howard leadoff walk and Hunter Pence's 33rd double of the year, Raul Ibanez was at the plate. Howard would end up scoring on a wild pitch; a decision that could have been costly had Brian McCann handled the ball cleanly as he retrieved it. The bobble allowed Howard to score easily. Ibanez followed by crushing a ball to the deepest part of right-centerfield, just to the right of the Phillies' bullpen. It drilled the top of the wall, just eluding a home run, but Pence scored and the Phils took a 4-2 lead.

The Braves would put pressure on the Phillies' bullpen, but Michael Stutes, Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson got the job done. Stutes allowed a run, while Lidge and Madson each pitched a scoreless frame. Lidge struck out three in the eighth, and Madson picked up save number 28.

The Phils had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Braves' starter Tim Hudson a little after 9pm. Chase Utley, who is starting to swing the bat much better, belted a solo shot into the Phillies' bullpen, and Raul Ibanez knocked in a run to complete four straight hits in the inning.

Ibanez had a huge night, going 3-for-4 with three RBI.

Cliff Lee was named NL Pitcher of the Month for August; which is a surprise to no one.

The Phils will go for the sweep tonight with Roy Oswalt (7-8, 3.80) on the mound against Brandon Beachy (7-2, 3.37).

Oswalt is seeking some consistency in the last month of the season to earn the fourth spot in the playoff rotation. He's 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA in his last three starts. He's struggled against the Braves in his career, going 1-3 with a 5.56 ERA. He picked up that one win back in April, allowing one run on five hits over six innings in his second start of the year.

Beachy has been tremendous for Atlanta this season. He hasn't lost since July 19. He's 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts. He's 0-3 in his career against the Phils with a 4.50 ERA in five starts.

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