Jamie Moyer picked up his 11th win, while the bullpen pitched 2 2-3 shutout innings, as the Phillies defeated the Braves 5-3 to take four of six at home.
Afterward, the Braves let their frustrations be heard. "It was a little fly ball," said Braves manager Bobby Cox of Ryan Howard's opposite-field three-run homer. "It goes out here and Cincinnati. Maybe Houston [with] the short porch. But if we get the call ... "
The call in question was the fifth-inning Tadahito Iguchi grounder that should have been converted into a double play. Shortstop Yunel Escobar missed the bag at second and was late with the throw to first. The replay showed both calls were correct. Howard would capitalize for his 33rd homer, sending his 95th, 96th and 97th runs to the plate. According to the Braves, it was the stadium's fault.
"When he hit it, I honestly thought it was going to be an out, but it still went 15 rows deep," said Buddy Carlyle, who was charged with the loss. "Their bullpen did a great job and Moyer kept us off balance," outfielder Jeff Francoeur added. "But it comes back to we've got to get key hits and I think I've reiterated that at this ballpark, any ball can go out of the ballpark."
Frankly, the Phillies won this series because they capitalized on key mistakes, something the Braves have done to the Phils for years. Had it not been for Escobar’s blown double play and Friday’s throwing error, the Braves might have experienced an entirely different outcome.
Opportunity knocked and several Phillies answered. Rollins put in a spectacular night of work, setting the table by reaching base three times, including a triple. Moyer (11-8, 4.68 ERA) stayed in control for 6 1-3 strong innings before running out of gas. Howard stayed back on the pitch from Carlyle and didn’t try to do too much with it. That’s all the big man needs to do. The bullpen, which didn’t allow a hit and struck out four in 2 2-3 innings, blew through the Braves’ lineup. After Howard's home run, the Bravos looked battered, frustrated, impatient and ready to return home to Georgia. This is still a team to be reckoned with. Then again, so are the Phillies.
Notes: Scott Mathieson starts a rehab assignment today in the GCL; Shane Victorino could begin a rehab assignment tomorrow in Reading. Manager Charlie Manuel has not made up his mind about Adam Eaton's next turn. (all reported by Zolecki of the Inquirer).