Chooch Comes Up Clutch

Also posted on Phillies Nation.

Hits with runners in scoring position and 1-2-3 saves have not been the Phillies specialty as of late. The Phillies got both in their 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Martin Prado killed the Phillies in a previous series in Atlanta. He continued the beating with a first inning solo home run against Joe Blanton. That was all Blanton allowed in seven innings. He gave up three hits, walked four, and struck out seven.

In the fourth, Chase Utley tied the game with his 29th homer of the season. Over 46% of the Phillies runs have come via long ball.

The Phillies had a golden opportunity in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. Blanton didn't follow the "don't swing" policy and lined into a double play. Jimmy Rollins grounded out to end the threat. Luckily, an error and a timely hit put the Phillies ahead.

Raul Ibanez walked and Pedro Feliz successfully laid down a sacrifice bunt. However, Chipper Jones made a throwing error and everybody was safe. Carlos Ruiz's two-run double gave the Phillies the lead.

Ryan Madson has been struggling, giving up three earned runs, seven hits, and a walk in his last four innings. Matt Diaz was drilled and Prado singled to start the eighth inning. Chipper Jones' RBI single drove in a run, making it 3-2 with two on and nobody out. Jayson Werth made a strong throw to the plate, but it was a tad wide for Ruiz to make the tag. Charlie Manuel made the call to the bullpen to escape the jam.

Scott Eyre, who hadn't pitched since August 16, was called upon. Eyre got Brian McCann to ground into the unconventional 4-6-5 double play. Chase Utley made a fantastic pick, and flipped to Rollins. Heads up, Rollins fired to third. Feliz and Prado got into a pickle, which Feliz won. A triple play was almost turned after McCann was a little too far away from the first base bag.

Garrett Anderson grounded out, and Eyre left the mound with a nice first pump. Brad Lidge would do the same. After two quick fly outs, Greg Norton went around on Lidge's nasty slider to end the game.

The Phillies took the rubber match game of the series and extend their divisional lead to eight games. Their magic number decreases to 26.


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