I think the notion that Pat Burrell is only good for thirty good swings a year is absurd. Whether you agree or not, it’s hard to deny that he came up with a big swing last night. Every day seems to bring a new hero for the Phils, and last night it was the slumping Burrell’s turn. With one out and a man on first in the sixth inning of a 2-2 game, Burrell lined a 3-2 pitch from Mike Hampton out to left to put the Phils on top to stay.
Cole Hamels gave the Phils another solid start. The 24-year-old has now thrown an NL-leading 220 1/3 innings on the season. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts (in his start before that he allowed three runs, two of which were unearned).
The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 4-3 to improve to 86-67 on the season. They sweep the three-game series and have won seven games in a row for the first time this year. They are 19 games above .500 for the first time since June 25, 1995 — they were 37-18 at the time and went 32-57 the rest of the way to end the season at 69-75 (the season was shortened due to the strike in ’94).
Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. Three of the hits went for extra-bases, two doubles and a home run. He struck out five.
He started the first with a 2-0 lead. He got the first two before Chipper Jones drew a walk. Brian McCann was next and the lefty blasted a 3-2 pitch off the wall in right for a double that scored Jones and cut the lead to 2-1. Omar Infante grounded back to Hamels to end the inning.
Casey Kotchman led off the first and again a lefty hurt Hamels. Kotchman drove a 1-1 pitch out to right-center to tie the game at 2-2. Hamels got the next three.
Martin Prado started the third with a single and Kelly Johnson bunted him to second. Chipper grounded to short before McCann walked to put men on first and second. Infante again grounded back to the pitcher to set Atlanta down.
Jeff Francoeur singled with one out in the fourth. Hamels struck out Josh Anderson and the pitcher Mike Hampton behind him.
Chipper doubled with two outs in the fifth. McCann grounded to third to leave him stranded.
Hamels started the sixth up 4-2. Infante led off with a single and went to second on a ground out by Kotchman and third on another by Francoeur. Anderson struck out swinging to leave him at third.
With two outs in the seventh, Johnson hit a ball to Howard that Howard flubbed for what should have been an error, but Johnson was given a hit. Pretty routine play for Howard, who had to come off the bag but should have made the play. Just an absurd call that allows Johnson to keep up a hit streak. Hamels walked Jones to put men on first and second before McCann hit a ground ball to short that Rollins didn’t handle for an error. This one allowed Jones to score and cut the lead to 4-3. Brent Lillibridge ran for McCann at first at the tying run and went to second on a wild pitch. Infante popped to Feliz to end the inning.
Romero pitched the eighth up a run. He got the first two before Anderson beat out an infield single to third. Yunel Escobar hit for the pitcher Julian Tavarez and popped to Utley in foul territory for the third out.
Lidge started the ninth and struck out Prado on three pitches for the first out. Johnson was next and got ahead 3-0 before he grounded a 3-2 pitch to Howard for the second out. Chipper was next and Lidge struck him out with a 1-2 slider to end the game.
Three innings for the pen in which they allow two hits and a walk and looked real solid. Madson allows a run that is unearned, but almost completely the fault of faulty defense behind him. Nice to see Romero throw a whole inning — the Phils are going to need him before it’s over for sure. Lidge looked much, much better. Madson threw 18 pitches, Lidge 13 and Romero 11.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Mike Hampton went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Feliz at third against the lefty. Ruiz catches.
Utley singled with one out in the first. Werth was next and doubled to center, going to third on an error by Anderson as Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard hit a sac fly to left that scored Werth and made it 2-0. Burrell grounded to first for the third out.
Ruiz doubled with two outs in the second, but Hamels grounded to first behind him.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.
Victorino walked with two outs in the fourth. Feliz was next and dumped a single into center that moved Victorino to third. Ruiz grounded to third to leave both runners stranded.
Rollins was hit by a pitch with one out in the fifth, but Utley hit into a double-play behind him.
Werth started the sixth with a ground ball to third, but Chipper’s throw to first was bad and Werth was safe on the error. Howard was next and grounded to second with Werth forced at second for the first out. Burrell got ahead 2-0 before he lined a 3-2 pitch out to left for a two-run homer, putting the Phils up 4-2. Victorino followed with a double and Feliz was walked intentionally. Ruiz lined to third for the second out and Jones threw to first to double-off Feliz to end the frame.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Tad Iguchi hit for Hamels to start the inning, getting his first at-bat of the year as a Phillie, and Hampton got him to fly to center.
Howard walked with one out in the eighth. A single by Burrell moved him to second. Bruntlett ran for Burrell at first, but Victorino struck out and Feliz grounded to third to leave both runners stranded.
Rollins walked with two outs in the ninth. Utley grounded out behind him.
Rollins was 0-for-3 with a walk in the game. 3-for-13 with a double in the series. 278/347/440 for the year. He’s hitting 338/427/492 in September.
Utley was 1-for-5 in the game. 2-for-13 with a double in the series. 287/376/528 for the year. 237/324/322 for the month.
Werth was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI in the game. 6-for-12 with two doubles, a homer and two walks in the series. He seems to be doing just fine playing every day. 283/379/521 for the year.
Howard 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. 5-for-10 with a triple, a home run, three walks and five RBI in the series. 248/337/534.
Werth and Howard, the new hear of the Phillies order, combine to go 11-for-22 with five walks in the series.
Burrell 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. 3-for-13 in the series. 252/367/510 for the year.
Victorino 1-for-3 with a double and a walk. 7-for-12 with two doubles in the series but just one RBI, which is in large part due to Burrell’s struggles. Victorino is red hot, 11-for-his-last-16, and not driving in runs because of where’s he’s hitting in the lineup. 289/351/434 for the year.
Feliz 1-for-3 with a walk in the game. 1-for-10 with three walks in the series. 250/302/400 for the year. Dobbs drew a walk in his only plate appearance of the series. He’s hitting 292/327/467 for the year. The walk was his only one in his last 42 at-bats.
Ruiz 1-for-4 in the game and left four men on base. 3-for-9 with a double, a home run and two walks in the series. 229/326/313 for the year. 294/368/500 for the year. Coste was 0-for-1 in the series and is hitting 268/326/434 for the year.
Brett Myers (10-11, 4.06) faces righty Josh Johnson (5-1, 3.30) tonight. Johnson has faced the Phils twice this season, holding them to a pair of runs over 12 2/3 innings. Moyer has a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio in his 11 starts since the All-Star break.