The Phillies offense had their hands full tonight against a very good pitcher in Tommy Hanson. They did not manage a hit off Hanson until the 5th inning and totaled only 2 hits during his 6 innings of work. But with Roy Oswalt on the mound for the Phillies, the Braves kept running into a similar brick wall.
Oswalt gave up his first and only hit allowed in the 4th inning; it was a double from Martin Prado. No other Brave could figure him out. Oswalt went 7 innings with just the one hit, no runs and struck out 8 batters. It looked like he was wielding a flamethrower.
And the team needed this performance out of Oswalt because they were getting nothing done on the offensive. Several times, they put men on base, but could not take advantage. In the 5th, with 2 men in scoring position and 2 outs, Shane Victorino went down looking at a fastball right down the middle. In the 6th, Ryan Howard was called out on a ball that catcher Brain McCann had to raise his glove above his head to catch. How that was a strike, apparently, only the umpire knows.
But that was the way it went all night long until Raul Ibanez finally put the Phillies on the board in the 8th inning. The Ibanez double scored Jayson Werth who had walked. With a slim 1-0 lead, the Phils went into the 9th with Brad Lidge again.
Contrary to a very long stretch earlier in the year, Lidge had been “Light’s Out” lately. If anyone had said that he would make it through the year with his job intact back then, most may have laughed. But Lidge took what looked like a bad, injury-plagued year and turned it around…just in time. Tonight, he recorded his 26th save in 31 opportunities.
This 3-game sweep of the Braves puts the Phillies 6 games ahead in the division with only 4 wins and/or combination of Braves loses to clinch. The Phillies are now 18 and 3 in the month of September…amazing! There is a well deserved day off tomorrow and then on Friday, the Mets come to town for 3 games. The Phillies could clinch this weekend, at home. How awesome would that be? Go Phillies!
Head shot by Jenn Zambri Photography