So, the Braves fell behind the Phillies early, then went out to a massive lead, and then tried to blow the whole thing. This time, unlike the season, they didn’t. Quite.
Tim Hudson went seven innings and allowed just two hits. Unfortunately, both were two-run homers, which is just the sort of thing that will drive you up the wall. The first, by
Ben Francisco L’il John Mayberry, put the Phillies up 2-0 in the third, and at this point, you think that it’s over. But it wasn’t. Jason Heyward‘s two-out triple in the bottom of the inning cut it to 2-1, and in the fourth the Braves — finally — broke out.
Brooks Conrad, folk hero, playing second base today, singled in the previously missing Matt Diaz to tie the game. With two out, Hudson himself did the job, singling in Alex Gonzalez, and then Omar Infante tripled to the right field line to make it 5-2. In the fifth, Derrek Lee‘s homer made it 6-2. Conrad made it 7-2 by singling in Brian McCann in the fifth, and Diaz singled in Heyward in the sixth to make it 8-2. Comfortable, right?
But Jayson Werth — the Phillies are full of Braves-killers — hit a two-run homer off of Hudson in the seventh to cut it to 8-4. And after Jonny Venters got the first two men he faced in the eighth, he walked the next and then Infante, falling into the spacetime warp at third base, let a ball go through his legs, and Bobby brought in Billy Wagner.
Wagner got ahead of the next man but couldn’t put him away, and on the tenth pitch gave up a single to make it 8-5. Then Francisco hit a double over the head of Nate McLouth, playing left field on the increasingly dubious grounds of him supposedly being a better outfielder than Diaz, and it was 8-7, and then Werth walked. But Wagner rallied to strike out Raul Ibanez and keep the lead. AAG hit into a bases-loaded GIDP to end the eighth, to the surprise of no one. But Wagner got all three looking — including the loathsome Shane Victorino, who tried to go to first on a 3-2 pitch down the middle — to end the game, and extend the season by at least one game.