Cory Lidle allowed two earned runs and five hits in six innings, lifting the Phillies to their fifth-straight victory with a 6-3 win over Atlanta.
After one month of baseball, the Phillies are finally out of the red.
Cory Lidle (3-3, 4.17 ERA) worked an efficient game following a two-run first inning, raising his strikeout total to a team-high 39.
The team settled in after a rough start, including some fielding mistakes and baserunning gaffs, otherwise this was a one-sided win.
Flawless closer Tom Gordon and workhorse Ryan Franklin got the night off, but it didn’t matter. Forgotten man Aaron Fultz pitched a scoreless seventh, Geoff Geary and Rheal Cormier combined to shut down in the eighth, and Arthur Rhodes earned a 1-2-3 save in the ninth, his first save since 2004.
Offensively, Ryan Howard homered and had two sacrifice flies. Jimmy Rollins belted a leadoff home run, breaking Juan Samuel’s franchise mark for leadoff homers with 15.
It's unclear whether winning breeds swagger, or swagger breeds winning, but the Phils are getting a little of both right now.
A two-game sweep of Atlanta is nothing to sneeze at. Yesterday, they battled back to win. Tonight, they were clearly the better team, taking advantage of Atlanta's mistakes and overcoming their own.
The Phillies have to be happy how the front three starters have settled in, which was the only way they were going to get on a roll like this. Tonight's starter is a solid and undervalued part of that.
Encouraging news for worrywarts is manager Charlie Manuel mixed up his bullpen assignments and got some different guys work in the later innings, a show of confidence for Geary in particular.
Offensively, Howard looked renewed tonight. He hasn't been protected as much this season and it was starting to show. The Phillies faced a rare stretch of left-handed starting pitching.
Mike Lieberthal’s exit after being hit by a pitch was hopefully just precautionary, but it illustrates how lucky the Phils have been with injuries. I wouldn’t want to speak too soon on this. Lieberthal, along with Burrell’s now-noticeable decline in speed, are issues worth monitoring. Lieberthal is expected to get tomorrow off with Gavin Floyd scheduled to pitch.