Let’s beat them while we can, guys, because the last few innings indicated the Phillies might be waking up. That game was way closer than it should have been.
There was, of course, rain, about an hour of it coming in the bottom of the first right after Glaus launched a three-run homer (his second of the type in as many days) to score Prado and Chipper. Tim Hudson returned after the delay, but Cole Hamels (who already looked mechanically off to me, as well as miserable in the rain) did not. Hudson spent the night getting those ground balls again but also getting strikeouts, six of them. With the Phillies, at least normally, you have to have a strikeout pitch or they’ll work you to death; as it was, he still threw 104 pitches in six innings. In the sixth, he allowed a double to Utley and a homer to Howard. If those guys return to normal, the Phillies don’t need a whole lot else.
The Braves added to their lead with two runs in the third after a key error (though both runs were scored “earned”) In the fifth, Melky drove one in with a bases-loaded groundout to make it 6-0 at the time. The Braves stretched it to 7-2 with a sac fly from Prado in the eighth, while O’Flaherty and Saito kept the Phillies off the board.
Jonny Venters had been pitching awfully well, but he’d also been pitching an awful lot the last few days, and it caught up with him today, as he allowed two hits and a walk to make it 7-3, then hit Utley (who leaned into the pitch) to load the bases for Howard. Bobby had no choice but to bring in Wagner, who got a groundout for the save.