July 22 2006

The Phillies got their second straight dramatic win when the beat the Braves last night, 6-3. The game featured Cory Lidle's longest outing of the year, another home run from Chris Coste and Jimmy Rollins and David Bell combining to go 8-for-9.

The win improves the Phillies record on the year to 44-50. They move into a tie with the Braves for second place in the NL East with both teams 13 games behind the Mets. The Phillies have 68 games remaining and would need to go about 44-24 or better to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Cory Lidle got the start for the Phillies and pitched very well. He went eight innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run and two doubles.

Lidle allowed just two hits through the first four innings and started the top of the fifth with a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, he got the first two Braves before Adam LaRoche singled and Scott Thorman hit a home run, tying the game at 2-2.

In the sixth, Lidle allowed his second home run on the day, a solo shot to Renteria that put Atlanta on top 3-2.

Lidle threw a scoreless seventh and started the top of the eighth in a 3-3 tie. He got the first two before Renteria singled, bringing Chipper to the plate. I was sure at the time it was a mistake to let Lidle pitch to Chipper, but Manuel did and Lidle got him to ground to second, ending the inning. I think Charlie may have gotten away with one there. It was only the second time all year Lidle had gone seven or more innings.

The Phillies put up three in the bottom of the eighth to go ahead 6-3 and Tom Gordon came into the game. He got the first two before Brian McCann singled and Jeff Francoeur followed with a two-run homer that brought Atlanta within one at 6-5. Gordon got LaRoche and Langerhans to end the inning and the game, recording his 23rd save on the year.

The Phillies lineup against righty John Smoltz went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Abreu (4) Burrell (5) Howard (6) Rowand (7) Bell (8) Coste. Coste is the curious thing here, getting the start against the tough righty in place of Lieberthal. It was the second straight start for Coste, and it was nice to see him getting a chance given the problems the Phillies have had behind the plate.

Coste would be a factor in the Phillies first runs of the game. In the fourth, with the score tied at 0-0, David Bell hit a two-out single and Coste followed with his second home run in as many games, putting the Phillies up 2-0.

That was it for the Phillies offense until the seventh. They went into the bottom of that frame trailing 3-2, but Jimmy Rollins led off with a home run that tied things up at 3-3.

With the score still tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, the Phils got a one-out walk from Rowand, which Bell followed up with a single that sent Aaron to third. The Phillies followed that up with huge at-bats from Dellucci, Rollins and Utley. David Dellucci pinch hit for Coste and singled to right, scoring Rowand and sending Bell to second. Shane Victorino followed, pinch-hitting for Lidle, and flew to center for the second out of the inning. Rollins faced Ray next, hitting a hard ground ball between first and second. It pulled LaRoche off the bag at first and when Betemit fielded the ball Ray had failed to cover -- Rollins was safe and the bases were loaded for Chase Utley. The Braves left the righty Ray in to face Utley instead of bringing in lefty Macay McBride and Utley singled up the middle, bringing in two more runs and putting the Phils up 6-3. McBride did come in at that point to face Abreu and got him on a soft line drive to third to end the inning.

Jimmy Rollins was 4-for-5 on the day with his 11th home run on the year.

Chase Utley's eighth inning single was huge for the Phillies. He was 1-for-4 on the day.

Bobby Abreu was 0-for-3 and walked twice. Burrell always seems to struggle against Smoltz and was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk. He's just 1-for-his-last-10.

Rowand was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. The walk came at a good time as he came around to score the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Bell was 4-for-4 with four singles. He's hitting .283.

Chris Coste didn't do much to hurt his case for continued playing time. He was 1-for-3 with his second home run. Since going hitless in his first 12 at-bats, he's 18-for-42 (.429).

Brett Myers faces lefty Chuck James this afternoon.

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