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September 26 2007

Miserable game for the Phillies last night as they took a 5-4 lead into the sixth and couldn't close it out.  Things got worse a couple of hours later when Brian Giles socked a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth to put the Padres ahead of the Giants to stay at 6-4.  As bad a night as it was, however, the bottom line for the Phils is they remain just a game out for the Wild Card with five left to play.

A game out with five left to play isn't impossible to overcome.  Neither was a miserable start from Moyer, who has now thrown to a 6.16 ERA in his 14 starts since the All-Star break.  The thing to worry about is that the guys who have propelled the Phils into the thick of the race were the guys that came up empty for the first time in a while last night.  Geary and Gordon combined to allow four runs in 1 1/3 innings.  For Gordon it was the first time he had been charged with a run over 9 2/3 innings in his last ten appearances.  Geary hadn't been charged with a run over 5 2/3 innings his his last five.

It's possible that the Phils simply burned out the bullpen arms they need now to get where they are -- in contention for a playoff spot with five games to play.  Or maybe they didn't and the overused core of the Phils' pen, Romero, Geary, Gordon and Myers, has more magic left.   Let's hope so.  Cause the Phils are real close, but they're not going to make the playoffs without it.

The Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves last night, falling 10-6 to drop to 85-72 on the season.  The Phils have lost two in a row and remain two games behind the Mets in the NL East.  The Padres move a game ahead of them in the Wild Card.  The Rockies won their ninth-straight last night and are now tied with the Phillies in the Wild Card chase.

Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks.  Four of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and a home run.  He struck out four.

Yunel Escobar started the first with a double and Edgar Renteria followed with a walk.  Chipper Jones followed and popped to Howard at first for the first out, but Mark Teixeira got the call on a close 1-2 pitch and then hit one out to center to put the Braves up 3-0.  Moyer got the next two to end the frame.

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 second and a 1-2-3 third. 

Andruw Jones doubled with two outs in the fourth.  Brian McCann followed with a single to center and Jones scored to put the Braves up 4-1.  Matt Diaz walked before pitcher Chuck James grounded back to the pitcher for the third out.

Moyer walked Chipper with two outs in the fifth, but struck out Teixeira to set the Braves down.

Jeff Francoeur started the sixth with a double into the corner in left.  Andruw was next and blooped a single into center.  Rowand's throw home was strong but offline on the first base side of home plate.  Francoeur slid in safely to tie the game at 5-5 on a close play.  A good throw would have had him.  Andruw went to second on the play at the plate.  McCann was next and he dribbled back to the pitcher for the first out.  Geary came in to pitch to the righty Matt Diaz and Diaz singled to center.  Jones scored to put the Braves up 6-5.  Lefty Willie Harris hit for pitcher Jeff Bennett and struck out for the second out.  Escobar was next and doubled down the line in right.  Diaz didn't score, though, even with two outs, and it looked like a break for the Phils.  With men on second and third with two down, Renteria singled to right and both runners scored.  8-5.  Geary got Chipper on a ground ball back to the pitcher to end the frame.

Awful outing for Geary.  The Renteria single with two outs was big.

Mesa threw a 1-2-3 seventh.

Romero threw a 1-2-3 eighth, getting the first out by striking out McCann looking at a 3-2 pitch on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

Gordon started the ninth with the Braves up 8-6.  He got Escobar to start the inning before Renteria singled to right.  Chipper was next and hit a long home run to right.  10-6.  Teixeira was next and hit a ball ticketed for extra-bases, but Howard made a diving play and flipped to Gordon for the second out.  The righty Francoeur was next, but he came into the came 4-for-7 with two home runs against Gordon, so Condrey came in to pitch to him.  Francoeur dribbled one down the third base line for an infield single.  Andruw moved Francouer to second with a single, but McCann flew to left for the third out.

Gordon's outing would have been worse without the great play from Howard to get the second out.

The Phillies' lineup against lefty Chuck James went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Werth (7) Ruiz (8) Nunez.  Nunez plays third with Moyer pitching.  Ruiz catches and moves up to seventh with Nunez in the lineup. 

Rollins led off the bottom of the first with a home run that cut the Braves' lead to 3-1.  Utley and Burrell struck out and Howard flew to right.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the second and again in the third. 

In the fourth, Burrell walked with one out and Howard followed with a bomb.  It cut the Atlanta lead to 4-3.  Howard struck out before Werth homered to left, tying the game at 4-4.  Ruiz reached on an infield single before Nunez grounded to first to end the inning.

With one out in the fifth, Rollins struck out on a 3-2 pitch that went off of McCann's glove and allowed Rollins to take first.  Utley moved Rollins to third with a single and Burrell hit a fly ball to left that Diaz took for the second out.  Rollins tagged and scored easily with the help of a poor throw from Diaz to put the Phils up 5-4.  Utley went to second when the throw went home, so Howard was walked intentionally.  Rowand grounded to second for the third out.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth.  With two outs, nobody on and the Phils down 8-5, Nunez hit for himself.  Don't know why.

Utley homered with two outs in the seventh to cut the Atlanta lead to 8-6.  Burrell flew to center for the third out.

Howard, Rowand and Werth went 1-2-3 in the eighth, ensuring the bottom of the order would start the ninth.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the ninth.

They had six hits in the game and walked twice.  Four of their six hits were home runs. 

Rollins was 1-for-4 with his 30th home run of the season.  He goes 30/30 for the first time in his career.

Utley was 2-for-4 with his 22nd home run of the season.

Burrell was 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI.

Howard was 1-for-3 with his 43rd home run.  He did not strike out in the game, so he stays at the major league record 195 for the year.

Rowand was 0-for-4. 

Werth was 1-for-4 with his eighth home run.

Ruiz was 1-for-4.

Nunez was 0-for-3.

Kyle Lohse (8-12, 4.71) faces righty Tim Hudson (16-9, 3.34) tonight.  Lohse is 2-0 with a 5.05 ERA in his 11 appearances with the Phils.  He made his first relief appearance of the year on Sunday against the Nationals and threw a scoreless inning.  His last start was Thursday against Washington and he allowed six runs in just two innings.  He has made one start against the Braves this season.  On September 4 in Atlanta he got the win, holding the Braves to two runs over 6 2/3 innings.  Andruw Jones is 5-for-7 with two home runs against him in his career.  Hudson has allowed nine home run in 218 1/3 innings this season.  In the same number of innings last season he allowed 25.  He's 0-1 with a 4.39 ERA in four starts against the Phillies this season.  He faced them on April 4, April 30, May 25 and September 5.

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