Once again, the Phillies prevail on the strength of pitching and defense. Blanton allowed two runs on six hits as he continued his post-All Star break revival. In 14 starts since the break, he's 5-1 with a 3.59 ERA, an impressive roll overshadowed by the power of the Big Three. Meanwhile, the back of the bullpen continued to ice it down, starting with Ryan Madson, who might be the best reliever in the league right now. Madson, who pitched a perfect eighth, has not allowed an earned run in his last 19 appearances (18 2-3 innings), giving up just nine hits over that span and averaging over a strikeout per inning. Brad Lidge has been no slouch, either. Lidge stranded the tying run at third to finish the ninth for his 27th save and fourth in four games.
The win, coupled with Atlanta's 8-3 loss to Washington, means the Phillies would clinch their fourth-straight division title if Atlanta loses this afternoon and the Phils come out on top against right-hander Dillon Gee and the Mets tonight at 7:05. Kyle Kendrick is scheduled for the Phillies. Derek Lowe and Yunesky Maya pitch today's matinee for Atlanta and Washington.Pitching and defense win. Timely hits when they (specifically Chooch, and lately, Ibanez) can get them. A gaudy 19-3 record in September. Anything your team can do this team can do better.