After jumping out to a five-run lead, the Phillies hung on to beat the Braves, 5-4, and give Cliff Lee his 10th win of the season.
Lee threw six easy, scoreless innings to start the game but ran into trouble in the seventh when he hit Freddie Freeman on a two-strike count and eventually served up a three-run bomb to Dan Uggla. Lee was gassed on this 92-degree evening and forced out after just 6.1 innings and 83 pitches.
J.C. Ramirez picked up two huge outs to end the threat, even striking out Justin Upton on a rare breaking ball. Ramirez has pitched well in five appearances since joining the Phils but will need to further develop that slider to stick -- 96 mph fastballs all the time won't cut it.
Antonio Bastardo and Jonathan Papelbon pitched scoreless innings to end the game and move the Phils to 42-45, 7.5 games back of the Braves.
Lee was able to front-run because of some early offense against lefty Paul Maholm. A terrible throw to second by Freddie Freeman started the scoring for the Phils in the first inning, and Humberto Quintero and Ryan Howard followed with homers in the next two frames to stake Lee to a 4-0 lead. Quintero later added an RBI double.
It was Howard's third homer of the year off a lefty.
Picking up this win was huge for the sake of momentum. Not only did it put the Phils in position to win the series Saturday, but it also gave the bullpen some much-needed confidence and gave the Phils a rare one-run victory. They're 10-16 in such games. In the NL, only the Brewers have been worse.