Well, this is phun.
Early, it looked like a classic Vazquez start—Javy was dealing, and the Braves were squandering scoring opportunities. (In the bottom of the 2nd, Escobar, who was finally well enough and far enough out of the doghouse to start, led off with a double, and Diaz followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners with none out. Stenchy, predictably, struck out swinging on a mediocre, down-the-middle fastball. After Kotchman walked to load the bases, Vazquez struck out and Blanco grounded out to end the threat.)
However, in the 4th, Diaz singled and Kotchman, clearly on PEDs, hit a ball 417 feet into the right field seats to make it 2-0. Vazquez managed to keep the Phillies scoreless despite throwing a lot of pitches and not being quite as dominant as he was throughout June until the 6th, when Utley singled, Werth was HBPed, and the annoying Greg Dobbs doubled, scoring one on a bang-bang play at the plate. Then at 109 pitches, Vazquez was pulled in favor of Moylan, who got out of the inning with weak grounders but not without giving up the tying run. Javy went 5 1/3, allowing the 2 earned runs on 7 hits while walking none and striking out 5. (His 130 Ks on the season are second only to Tim Lincecum’s 132 in the NL.)
The score held until the 8th inning, the game’s biggest. In the top half, Gonzo was (once again) less than dominant, walking Werth with one out after giving up an almost-homer to Howard. He followed by striking the next batter out, but with two out, he did what Braves relievers do and failed to hold the runner. Werth stole second easily and KJ failed to haul in an unnecessary but catchable throw from McCann, advancing Werth all the way around to third. Three pitches later, Gonzalez uncorked a wild one; McCann, however, made a nice play to retrieve the ball, which he flipped to a falling/diving Gonzo in time to tag Werth out at home, ending the inning and preserving the tie.
McCann singled off of Ryan Madson to start the bottom of the inning and was pinch-run for by Jurrjens. (Hernandez had been used earlier to pinch-bunt; KJ had been brought in earlier to pinch-run for Kotchman; ACHE couldn’t be bothered.) Bobby called on Escobar to bunt him over, and Yunel got the job done. (Howard could have had the force at second rather easily, but he froze and instead went to first.) Diaz followed with a double over Victorino’s head in center and then alertly stole third—he’s a perfect 4 for 4 on the year in stolen bases—to get himself in scoring position with only one out, but ACHE, who Bobby actually pinch-hit for Francoeur (!), made it irrelevant by homering into the bullpen on a 1-2 pitch to provide the final margin of victory. That Bobby sent ACHE in to hit for Francoeur and not Diaz in the inning may be a sign that our long regional nightmare will soon be over.
Soriano finished off the game and the sweep with a 6-pitch, 1-2-3 ninth. The Braves are now 2 games under .500 and 2 games off the division lead. We head to D.C. to square off with the Natinals come to town tomorrow. Francoeur sucks, but we face nothing but lefties in the coming series, so expect to see more of him for now.